Broadway Solicitors is committed to eliminating discrimination and promoting equality and diversity in its own policies, practices and procedures and in those areas in which it has influence. This applies to the firm’s professional dealings with staff and other solicitors, barristers, clients and third parties.
We intend to treat everyone equally and with same attention, courtesy and respect regardless of their disability, sex, gender reassignment, marital status, race, racial group, colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, pregnancy and maternity, religion, belief, sexual orientation or age.
All staff are to comply with this policy.
We are committed to complying with all current and any future anti-discrimination legislation and associated codes of practice.
In developing and implementing its equality, diversity and anti-discrimination policy, we are committed to complying with Chapter 2 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011 equality and diversity, and with all current and any future equality, diversity and anti-discrimination legislation and associated codes of practice including, but not limited to:
- The Equality Act 2010 and statutory instruments and regulations issued thereunder;
- Relevant Practice Notes issued from time to time by The Law Society, including the Practice Note entitled Equality Act 2010;
- Guidance notes and Directives issued by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC);
- Relevant directives, legislation and regulations issued by the European Court of Justice and/or the European Court of Human Rights;
- and any relevant modifications amendments and additions to the foregoing.
As a firm, we are regulated by the SRA and we are required to collect, report and publish workforce diversity data annually. The data is collected annually by completion of the questionnaire which remains secure with only the Principal of this practice.
Forms of Discrimination
The following are the kinds of discrimination, which are against the firm’s policy:
- Direct discrimination, where a person is treated less favourably on the grounds of disability, sex, gender reassignment, marital status, race, racial group, colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief or sexual orientation or age.
- Indirect discrimination, where an apparently neutral provision, criterion or practice would put a substantially higher proportion of the members of one sex, or persons having a racial or ethnic origin, or a particular religion or belief, or a particular disability or a particular sexual orientation at a particular disadvantage compared with other persons unless that provision, criterion or practice is objectively justified by a legitimate aim and the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary.
Discrimination arising from disability – Discrimination occurs when a person with a disability is treated unfavourably because of something arising in consequence of their disability and this treatment cannot be justified as a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. There is a duty to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that a staff member/client/third party with a disability, are not put at a substantial disadvantage when compared with a staff member/client/third party without that disability. This is a legal responsibility under anti-discrimination legislation. This requirement applies to premises, goods and services and employment.
Duty to make adjustments – Where a provision, criterion or practice puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage in relation to a relevant matter or physical feature, or where a disabled person would, but for the provision of an auxiliary aid, be at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with persons who are not disabled, the person to whom the duty applies must take reasonable steps to avoid the disadvantage and provide auxiliary aid. Where the above provision, criterion or practice or auxiliary aid required relates to the provisions of information, ‘reasonable steps’ include making sure that the information is in an accessible format.
- Victimisation, where a person is treated to a detriment because that person has carried out (or is believed to have carried out or may carry out) a “protected act” (namely any of the following: bringing proceedings under the Equality Act 2010, give evidence or information in proceedings brought under the Equality Act, doing anything that is related to the provisions under the Equality Act, or make an allegation that another person has done something in breach of the Equality Act).
- Harassment, when unwanted conduct related to any of the grounds referred to above takes place with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person and of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. Harassment may involve physical acts or verbal and non-verbal communications and gestures. The Act specifically prohibits three types of harassment: harassment related to a ‘relevant protected characteristic’, sexual harassment; and less favourable treatment of a service user because they submit to or reject sexual harassment related to sex or gender reassignment.
Harassment can occur where it has the defined effect upon the victim, notwithstanding the harasser’s intention e.g. remarks made humorously can still constitute harassment if that is the effect which they had upon the person being harassed. A series of minor acts or comments or a one-off act of sufficient severity can amount to harassment.
Sexual harassment will not be allowed or condoned. Sexual harassment means unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, or other conduct based on sex, affecting the dignity of women and men at work.
Harassment of our employees by non-employee third parties, for example, clients, contractors etc. will not be tolerated and such conduct must be reported to the Principal. The firm will take all necessary and reasonable steps to ensure that such harassment is prevented.
Everyone in the firm is expected and required to treat all other equally and with the same attention, courtesy and respect.
In line with the SRA Code of Conduct 2011, in the course of its professional dealings, we will not discriminate, victimise, or harass groups of people on the grounds set out above, and the firm will make reasonable adjustments to prevent those of this firm’s employees, clients or third parties who are disabled from being disadvantaged in comparison with those who are not disabled.
Employment and training
As an employer, Broadway Solicitors will treat all employees and job applicants equally and fairly and not discriminate unjustifiably against them. This will include, for example, arrangements for recruitment and selection, terms and conditions of employment, access to training opportunities, access to promotion and transfers, grievance and disciplinary processes, demotions, selection for redundancies, dress code, references, bonus schemes, work allocation, and any other employment related activities.
Recruitment and selection
We recognise the benefits of having a diverse workforce. When recruiting, we will take steps to ensure that applications are attracted from people without discrimination and will ensure that there are equal opportunities at all stages of the recruitment process. We will take steps to ensure that:
- it endeavours to recruit from the widest possible pool of qualified candidates;
- employment opportunities are open and accessible to all on the basis of candidates’ individual qualities and personal merits;
- where appropriate, positive action measures are taken to attract applications from all sections of society and especially from those groups which are under-represented in the workforce;
- selection criteria and processes do not discriminate unjustifiably on the grounds of disability, sex, gender reassignment, marital status, race, racial group, colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief or sexual orientation or age other than in those instances where the firm is exercising permitted positive action;
- wherever appropriate and necessary, lawful exemptions (genuine occupational requirements) will be used to recruit suitable staff to meet the special needs of particular groups; and
- all recruitment agencies acting for the firm are aware of its requirement not to discriminate and to act accordingly
Such checks will be made prior to offering a job to a candidate. Health related questions will only relate to the need to make reasonable adjustments for individuals for the selection process, the ability to carry out a function that is essential to the job, the need to monitor diversity in the range of applicants and ensure the candidate has a disability where the position genuinely requires it.
Conditions of service
- We will treat all employees equally and create a working environment which is free from discrimination and harassment, and which respects, where appropriate, the diverse backgrounds and beliefs of employees.
- Terms and conditions of service for employees will comply with equality and anti-discrimination legislation. The provision of benefits such as working hours, maternity and other leave arrangements, performance appraisal systems, dress code, bonus schemes, and any other conditions of employment, will not discriminate against any employee on the grounds of his or her age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation; or unreasonably on the grounds of his or her disability.
- Where appropriate and necessary, we will endeavour to provide appropriate facilities and conditions of service which take into account the specific needs of employees which arise from the protected characteristics set out above.
Promotion and career development
- Promotion within this firm (including to partner) will be made without reference to any of the forbidden grounds as outlined above, and will be based solely on merit.
- The selection criteria and processes for recruitment and promotion will be kept under review to ensure that there is no unjustifiably discriminatory impact on any particular group.
- Whilst positive action measures may be taken in accordance with the relevant anti-discrimination legislation to encourage under-represented groups to apply for promotion opportunities, recruitment or promotion to all jobs will be based solely on merit.
- All employees will have equal access to training and other career development opportunities appropriate to their experience and abilities and in accordance with the law.
Men and women are entitled to equal pay for work of equal value.
Barristers and third parties
- We maintain a register of approved barristers, experts and consultants. This register is compiled on the basis of the skills, experience and ability of those contained in the register to undertake work of a particular type. It does not contain exclusions, restrictions or preferences based upon any of the discriminatory grounds listed above.
- A client’s request for a named barrister should be complied with, subject to our duty to discuss with the client the suitability of the barrister and to advise appropriately.
- We will discuss with the client any request by the client that only a barrister who is not disabled or who has a protected characteristic, be instructed. In the absence of a valid reason for this request, which must be within the exemptions permitted by the anti-discrimination legislation, the firm will endeavour to persuade the client to modify their instructions in so far as they are given on discriminatory grounds. Should the client refuse to modify such instructions, the firm will cease to act.
All lists of approved suppliers and databases of contractors, agents, and other third parties who are regarded as suitable to be instructed by those within our firm have been compiled only on the basis of the ability of those persons or organisations to undertake work of a particular type and contain no discriminatory exclusion, restriction, or preference.
- We are generally free to decide whether to accept instructions from any particular client, but any refusal to act will not be based upon any of the forbidden grounds.
- We will take steps to meet the different needs of particular clients arising from its obligations under the anti-discrimination legislation (particularly the Equality Act) and the SRA Code of Conduct 2011.
- In addition, where necessary and where it is permitted by the relevant anti-discrimination legislation (for example, provisions relating to positive action or exemptions), the firm will seek to provide services which meet the specific needs and requests arising from clients’ ethnic or cultural background, gender, responsibilities as carers, or other protected characteristics or other similar factors.
Promoting equality and diversity
- We are committed to promoting equality and diversity in the firm as well as in those areas in which it has influence.
- Employees will be informed of this anti-discrimination policy and will be provided with equality and diversity training appropriate to their needs and responsibilities.
- As and when the firm recruits staff, the subject of equality and diversity will be included in the induction procedure.
- All those who act on the firm’s behalf will be informed of this anti-discrimination policy and will be expected to pay due regard to it when conducting business on the firm’s behalf.
- In all its dealings, including those with suppliers, contractors and recruitment agencies, the firm will seek to promote the principles of equality and diversity.
- We will make every effort to reflect its commitment to equality and diversity in its marketing.
Implementing the policy
- Ultimate responsibility for implementing and maintaining the policy rests with the Principal.
- Any employees of the firm are expected to pay due regard to the provisions of its anti-discrimination policy and are responsible for ensuring compliance with it when undertaking their jobs or representing the firm.
- Acts of discrimination or harassment on any of the forbidden grounds by employees of the firm will result in disciplinary action. Failure to comply with this policy will be treated in a similar fashion. The policy applies to all who are employed in this firm and to the Principal.
- Acts of discrimination or harassment on any of the forbidden grounds by those acting on behalf of the firm will lead to appropriate action including termination of services where appropriate.
Reporting of complaints
- All allegations of discrimination or harassment will be dealt with seriously, confidentially and speedily. This firm will treat seriously, and will take action where appropriate concerning, all complaints of discrimination or harassment on any of the forbidden grounds made by employees, partners, clients, barristers, or other third parties
- All complaints will be investigated in accordance with the firm’s grievance or complaints procedure and the complainant will be informed of the outcome
- Employees should bear in mind that they can be held personally liable as well as, or instead of, this firm for any act of unlawful discrimination. However, as all staff are subject to the disciplinary rules it should be remembered that unfounded allegations of unfair treatment can themselves be distressing to the recipients of such complaints and that such unfounded allegations may in themselves lead to disciplinary proceedings.
- If you experience or become concerned about discrimination or harassment you should discuss the problem with the Principal without delay.
We will conduct monitoring of diversity in the work place and report on the same in line with any such requests to do so by its regulatory body
Reviews and updates
Any development in the firm’s strategic and business plans or changes to our office manual will be examined to ensure that no inadvertent breach of this policy occurs. The policy will be reviewed annually by the Principal to ensure it keeps up to date with legislation and professional rules. The effectiveness of the policy will be monitored on an on-going basis to ensure that it is working in practice and more regular reviews and updates will take place if necessary.
The Principal has the overall responsibility of implementing and reviewing the equality and diversity policy.