Diversity EO & Discrimination

Statement Of Intent – 12 College Place

Chambers understands the importance of equality of opportunity and is committed to ensuring that, within the framework of English and European law, it is free from discrimination on the grounds of colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origin, gender (including reassignment), sexual orientation, religion or belief reassignment, age, marital status or physical or mental disability.

We value diversity and are committed to promoting this both in Chambers and generally by seeking to ensure all individuals are treated fairly, with dignity and respect and recognising and encouraging individual contributions to Chambers.

Chambers aims to ensure our barristers, pupils and staff achieve their full potential and all decisions are taken without reference to irrelevant or discriminatory criteria. It has adopted a range of equality and diversity policies to help achieve these goals.

Chambers is committed to ensuring all its clients, visitors, barristers, pupils, staff and applicants for employment, consultancy, pupillage, mini pupillage, full tenancy and door tenancy are protected from unlawful discrimination.

We will endeavour not to discriminate in all areas of recruitment, selection, promotion, transfer, training, access to benefits and services as well as matters of discipline.

All persons should be free to work in, and use, Chambers in an environment free from unlawful harassment, bullying or unsolicited and unwelcome comments or overtures.

GENERAL EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY POLICY

1. What is discrimination?

1.1 Direct discrimination occurs where someone is disadvantaged or treated less favourably on discriminatory grounds in relation to their employment. This may occur even when unintentional.

Examples

Refusing Tenancy to a female candidate with small children on the assumption she could be unreliable

Refusing a position to an Iraqi applicant as they may not ‘fit in’ with existing staff

A person is subjected to sexual innuendo or other offensive conduct of a sexual nature.

1.2 Indirect discrimination occurs where the individual’s employment or engagement is subject to an unjustified provision, criteria or practice which is applied equally to persons of all groups but which puts, or would put, at a particular disadvantage persons of a certain group and it cannot be shown to be a proportionate way of achieving a legitimate goal.

Examples

Requiring GCSE English as a selection criterion may prejudice those educated abroad who do have a suitable level of literacy

Requiring full time work as this may be prejudicial to primary carers of children who need flexibility to manage childcare arrangements.

1.3 Disability discrimination occurs where an individual is unjustifiably disadvantaged in employment/recruitment for a reason connected with his/her disability unless the discrimination cannot be avoided by making reasonable adjustments.

Examples

Requiring an employee to hold a valid driving licence for a job which involves little travelling.

Failure to recruit a wheelchair user without considering whether working arrangements or premises can reasonably be adapted to their needs.

1.4 Victimisation occurs where an individual is treated less favourably than colleagues because they have taken action, in good faith, to assert their statutory rights or assisted a colleague with information in that regard.

1.5 Harassment is unwanted conduct based on discriminatory grounds which affects the dignity of an individual at work or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading humiliating or offensive environment. Harassment may be visual, verbal or physical and has been addressed in the Chambers policy on harassment.

1.6 We are committed to ensuring all our clients, barristers, pupils, staff and applicants are protected from unlawful discrimination, victimisation and harassment.

Chambers has a written Harassment Policy that can be accessed below.

HARASSMENT POLICY

2. Implementing equality of opportunity

2.1 Recruitment and employment decisions will be made on the basis of fair and objective criteria.

2.2 The requirements of all clients, applicants and members of staff who have, or have had a disability, will be considered to ensure that whatever reasonable adjustments can be made to enable them to use, join or remain with Chambers are made.

Promotion opportunities, benefits and facilities for access, work or employment will not be unreasonably limited and every reasonable effort will be made to ensure the disabled can participate fully and have access to Chambers and its services.

2.3 Consideration of all applications will be limited to those requirements which are necessary for the effective performance of the engagement. Interviews will be conducted on an objective basis and personal or home commitments will not form the basis of decisions except where necessary.

2.4 The ethnic, gender, religious and age composition of Chambers’ staff and applicants will be monitored from time to time in order to check the spirit of this Policy is being adhered to. Chambers will follow the safeguards outlined in the Data Protection Act 1998 concerning the collation of such sensitive data.

2.5 Appropriate training will be arranged for the Equal Opportunities Officer and any person assisting them to implement and uphold our commitment to equality.

2.6 Working patterns and requirements will be reviewed to enable Chambers to consider flexible and home working – we have a written policy to deal with this 

2.7 All barristers, pupils and staff have a right to equality of opportunity and dignity in Chambers and a have duty to assist with the implementation of this policy. Breach of any equal opportunity and diversity policy is potentially a serious disciplinary matter. 

Any person who believes that he or she may have suffered any detriment on discriminatory grounds is entitled to raise the matter either through the grievance procedure (if employed) or with the Chambers Equal Opportunities Officer (if not employed).

2.8 The Head of Chambers will have ultimate responsibility for implementation of this policy. The Equal Opportunities Officer will coordinate implementation of the policy and can deal with any questions relating to it. They will report all issues at the Quarterly Management Board Meeting.

3. “Pupillage Equal Opportunities and Diversity Policy”

All applications for Pupillage shall be considered giving full regard to the policies we have outlined here and on our website.

4. “Policy and procedures for recruitment of tenants”

The recruitment of tenants will also be subject to paragraphs 1.33 and 1.34 of Section 1: Action Area: A of the “Equality and Diversity Code for the Bar”.

5. Maternity, Paternity and Adoption

Chambers has a written policy to deal with these issues both for our staff and for members of Chambers and these can be viewed via the links provided.

TAB TO MATERNITY/PATERNITY DOCUMENT (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)

6. Equal Access to and the fair allocation of work within Chambers

Chambers is committed to this goal. The Senior Clerk will have regular (at least annual) meetings with all members of chambers and staff with a view to advancing their practices and careers.

For full details of our written policies with regard to work distribution and practice development please click on the tab provided.

DISTRIBUTION AND DEVELOPMENT DOCUMENT

Chambers will refuse to accept instructions which in work being allocated in a directly discriminatory manner and will report any such instruction, where relevant, to the appropriate professional body.

7. Monitoring and Addressing Under Representation within Chambers and

Reporting

Chambers will undertake monitoring exercises from time to time with a view to identifying under represented minorities or groups within members and staff.

Chambers will also undertake monitoring exercises with a view to identifying under represented minorities or groups within applicants for pupillages, membership and staff positions.

Chambers may then analyse the results of any such monitoring and may look for ways to address any under representation found. Corrective action including focused recruitment may be taken and measurable objectives may be set.

8. Training on Equality and Diversity

Chambers shall arrange periodic equal opportunity and diversity training not only for Chambers Equal Opportunity Officers but also other members of chambers and staff.