This document is prepared as a guide to Electro Technical Services staff, subcontractors and apprentices to assist them in
understanding what is meant by the term “equal opportunities” and in making Electro Technical Services’s commitment to
equal opportunities a reality. The document includes the following: -
What is meant by equal opportunities?
What is meant by discrimination?
What is the law relating to equal opportunities?
How equal opportunities affect our working practices?
What are the responsibilities of all parties concerned?
It is hoped that this document will give all concerned a greater understanding of equal opportunities and encourage
them to participate actively in implementing Electro Technical Services’s Equal Opportunities Policy.
02. WHAT IS MEANT BY EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES
Equal opportunities is not about treating everyone the same. Nor is it about giving someone an unfair advantage of
unjustified preferential treatment at the expense of others. Equal opportunities is about treating everyone fairly
and not treating some people unfairly for reasons that cannot be justified.
1. Direct Discrimination – treating one person less favourably than another in any aspect of recruitment, employment,
promotion, re-deployment redundancy, standard of appraisal, job analysis or terms and conditions.
2. Indirect Discrimination – applying a requirement or condition which, whether intentionally or not, adversely affects
any person, or member of a particular racial group, considerably more than others and cannot be justified.
3. Victimisation – victimising any individual who makes a complaint in good faith under the Race Relations, Sex
Discrimination or Disability Discrimination Acts, or who gives evidence in connection with proceedings brought under those Acts.
4. Harassment/Bullying – these are often closely related and it can be difficult to distinguish between them.
Harassment based on sex, race or disability may amount to unlawful discrimination as defined in the relevant legislation.
5. Sexual Harassment – there is no one definition of what constitutes sexual harassment, but generally speaking it is
unwanted, unreasonable and offensive words or conduct of a sexual nature, or other conduct based on sex affecting the
dignity of women and men at work. It is important to recognised that men can be the victims of sexual harassment as well as women.
Examples of sexual harassment include:
a. Unwanted physical contact
b. Applying pressure, by threats or inducements, to obtain sexual favours
c. Leering or pestering
d. The display or circulation of sexually explicit material
e. Insults or ridicule of a sexual nature.
Sexually explicit remarks, jokes or actions can also be offensive.
f. Racial Harassment – any display of racial prejudice by word or conduct which is unwanted, unreasonable and offensive.
Racially derogatory remarks or jokes can be considered offensive behaviour, which reinforces racial stereotypes.
1. Positive Action – The Sex Discrimination Act (19750 and the Race Relations Act (1976), as amended, allow employers to
encourage applications from a particular gender or racial group on the grounds that they are under-represented in specific
occupations. Legislation also allows employers to provide training courses exclusively for existing employees from
under-represented groups. These measures are known as Positive Action.
2. Genuine Occupational Qualification – When recruiting, an employer can discriminate in favour of a person from a
particular ethnic group or gender where a person’s ethnic group or gender is a genuine occupational qualification
(GOQ) for a particular job. GOQs can only be claimed in very limited circumstances, for example where considerations
of privacy and decency or authenticity are involved.
03. EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES LEGISLATION
The following is a brief description of the main legislation regarding equal opportunity:
1. Equal Pay Act 1970 - makes it unlawful to discriminate between men and women with regard to pay and other terms
of their contracts of employment. Despite frequent references to “equal pay for women”, the Act promotes the claims
of either sex for equal treatment with the other.
2. Sex Discrimination Act 1975 – makes it generally unlawful to discriminate directly or indirectly against
women or men on the grounds of sex or marital status.
3. Race Relations Act 1976 – makes it generally unlawful to discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone
on racial grounds, which includes colour, race, nationality, or ethnic or national origin.
4. Disability Discrimination Act 1995 – makes it unlawful for an employer to treat a disabled person less
favourably than someone else because of his or her disability, unless here is a good reason. In order to help a
disabled person to do the job, employers will have to look at what changes they could make to the workplace or to
the way the work is done, and make any changes that are reasonable. In deciding what is reasonable, employers
will be able to take into account how much the changes would cost and how much they would help. Employers will
not be expected to make any changes which would break health and safety rules.
5. The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 – makes provision for protecting persons from harassment and similar conduct.
6. Public Interest Disclosure Act 1968 – to protect individuals who make certain disclosures of information in the public
interest, for example that a person has failed to comply with any legal obligation to which they are subject, and to allow
such individuals to bring action in respect of victimisation.
Electro Technical Services shall ensure that its advertising material is free from any indication of an intention to discriminate unlawfully.
Electro Technical Services shall make every effort to carry out its advertising in such a way as to encourage applications from all suitable
candidates regardless of their race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religious belief, gender, marital status, sexual
orientation or disability.
Electro Technical Services staff shall encourage all interested and eligible people to apply for training, particularly those demonstrating
an interest who have traditionally not sought training or employment in the Electrical Installation Industry and allied industries (see 2.3 para 1 Positive Action).
05. RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION
Initial applications – there shall be clear and consistent procedures for dealing with applications for employment and for
Electro Technical Services Training Schemes. All applications for training or employment with Electro Technical Services shall be
monitored with regard to equality of opportunity.
Selection Tests – any selection tests used shall be specifically relevant to the requirements of the job or training scheme.
Selection tests shall be regularly reviewed to ensure that they remain relevant and free from any unjustifiable bias,
either in content or in scoring mechanism. Tests will be altered or discontinued if found to be unfairly biased in this way.
People with disabilities – Applications for employment or training from people with disabilities shall be considered as follows:
1. When making decisions about a disabled person’s suitability for employment or training, account shall be taken of al the information
available including past assessments of the applicant’s abilities and disability. Where appropriate, the professional opinion of a
doctor from the Employment Medical Advisory Service should be sought.
2. Where necessary, reasonable modifications shall be made to the selection process to remove any unintentional or unjustified
disadvantage to an applicant with a disability.
Electro Technical Services shall make every effort to avoid unfair discrimination on the basis of unrelated criminal convictions.
In many cases, an individual’s offending record may have no bearing on the training and/or employment under consideration.
Where there is doubt as to whether the previous conviction(s) are relevant or not, it is a matter of exercising judgement
based on the facts of the office (e.g. seriousness, whether work-related, how long ago, evidence of re-offending) and the
nature of the training/employment opportunity.
In seeking information about offences, it is important that any information given by the applicant is not used against
them in any way and is only made known to those who have a need to know.
The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act provides that, except for certain exempt occupations, some minor convictions may be
regarded as “spent” after a period of time. Such spent convictions must be disregarded when considering someone’s suitability for employment or training.
07. DEALING WITH DISCRIMINATION
Acts of unlawful discrimination or victimisation by Electro Technical Services Staff shall be treated as disciplinary offences.
All staff and apprentices will be advised of grievance procedures and their rights under the law at the commencement of employment or training.
7.3.1 Should apprentices or members of Electro Technical Services staff feel that they have experienced unfair treatment discrimination or
victimisation during training or employment they should in the first instance contact their divisional manager.
7.3.2 If the incident occurs within the working environment of Electro Technical Services staff, the procedure will be to follow the
standard line management route until the situation has been resolved. If this is deemed not to be the most desirable route,
the complaint should be addressed to the Partners.
7.3.3 For employed status apprentices the relevant industry grievance procedures take precedence.
7.3.4 Where these industry procedures are inapplicable or in default, statutory provision will apply and
may involve Training and Enterprise Councils or with effect from April 2001, the national and/or local
Learning and Skills Council(s) or the appropriate representative contracting organisation.
7.3.5 All complaints shall be dealt with promptly and effectively, without prejudice to the individual’s legal rights.
Grievances shall not be ignored or treated lightly on the assumption that the complainant is over-sensitive about discrimination.
7.3.6 All Electro Technical Services staff, subcontractors and employers should inform Electro Technical Services of any reported
incidents of discrimination and of what action was taken.
7.3.7 All Electro Technical Services staff, subcontractors and employers shall make every effort to ensure that persons who
complain of discrimination do not suffer victimisation or reprisals as a result of their complaints.
Dealing with harassment and bullying (see also 2.2 para 4)
7.4.1 Racial and sexual harassment, as well as harassment concerning religious belief, disability or sexual orientation
can make the working environment of employees and apprentices intolerable and their performance can suffer as a result.
7.4.2 Any such actions, which are unwanted and adversely affect working relationships, are disciplinary offences within
Electro Technical Services. This applies to less obvious forms of offensive behaviour, such as racially or sexually
offensive remarks voiced out of the hearing of the individual concerned.
7.4.3 Electro Technical Services staff, subcontractors and employers have a responsibility for recognising harassment
when it occurs and they should make every effort to ensure that the harassment ceases.
7.4.4 Persons may experience harassment that is not obvious to the staff who can help. Incidents at the workplace
should be reported to the person’s manager/work supervisor.
7.4.5 The grievance procedure in case of harassment and bullying is as detailed in 7.3 above.
7.5.1 A person working or training in an environment where he or she is in a minority may need special support.
Electro Technical Services shall offer every possible assistance to the individual concerned in order to develop his or her career/training.
7.5.2 Other working arrangements – where possible, consideration shall be given to alternative working arrangements, for example to
assist in certain domestic circumstances or for cultural or religious needs.
08. TRADE UNION MEMBERSHIP
Electro Technical Services staff and apprentices may join a relevant union if they wish and are eligible to do
so under the union’s rules. The recognised trade union in the craft sector of the Electrical Installation
Engineering Industry is the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union.
The role of trade unions shall be explained to apprentice during induction courses administered by Electro Technical Services.
Union members may seek help and advise from their union on, for example, disciplinary matters, grievances, discrimination, victimisation, harassment and bullying.
09. RECORDING, MONITORING AND REWIEWING
Electro Technical Services shall record, monitor and review the implementation of its equal opportunities policy in order to ensure its effectiveness.
Results of this programme shall form the basis of positive action.
Electro Technical Services shall monitor and record relevant statistics, e.g. relating to the sex, ethnicity and disability of individuals, in the following areas:
1. Applications for training and employment.
2. Successful selection tested candidates and those with secured work placements.
3. Early leavers.
4. Apprentices with successful outcomes.
These statistics shall be regularly evaluated to see if there are any anomalies and to ensure that the Policy is being put into practice.
Electro Technical Services shall keep records of the reasons given by the staff for leaving. Electro Technical Services shall also keep records
of the reasons given by apprentices for leaving training without achieving their individual training goal. All information recorded will be
used to help Electro Technical Services monitor and evaluate the provision of equal opportunities within its employment and training provisions,
with a view to reducing staff turnover and apprentice dropout rates.
All personal information collected for the purpose of equal opportunities monitoring will be treated as confidential and not misused, in
accordance with the Data Protection Act 1984.
10. RESPONSIBILITIES AND LIABILITIES
All Electro Technical Services staff and apprentices shall be made aware of the Equal Opportunities Policy and Procedures on induction.
Where practicable, the Policy statement shall also be made known to all applicants for training or employment.
Although overall responsibility for implementing Electro Technical Services’s Equal Opportunities Policy and Procedures rest with senior
management, it is the responsibility of all staff and apprentices to ensure that they have read the Policy and Procedures statement and comply with it.
All Electro Technical Services’s subcontractors shall be made aware of the Equal opportunities Policy and Procedures and their duty to ensure that the
policy is upheld. Failure by subcontractors to uphold the policy may result in the termination of their subcontract.
Personal liability – If an employee or an apprentice, in the course of their employment discriminates unlawfully against any individual on the grounds of
race, gender or disability they are personally liable.
Vicarious liability – Electro Technical Services, as an employer, is liable for any discriminatory act done, with or without its knowledge or approval,
by an employee in the course of his or her work unless Electro Technical Services can show that all practical steps were taken to prevent the employee discriminating.