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Equality & Diversity

The Firm’s commitment

1. General commitment
The Firm is committed to eliminating discrimination and encouraging equality and diversity in its own policies, practices and procedures and in those areas in which it has influence. We oppose all forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination.

This applies to the Firm’s professional dealings with staff, partners, other solicitors, barristers, clients and third parties.

The Firm intends to treat everyone equally and with the same amount of attention, courtesy and respect regardless of their age, disability, gender, marital status, race, racial group, colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, religion or belief or sexual orientation.

2. Regulation and legislation
In developing and implementing its anti-discrimination policy, the Firm is committed to complying with the Solicitors’ Code of Conduct 2007 and with all current and any future anti-discrimination legislation and associated Codes of Practice including, but not limited to:

  1. The Equal Pay Act 1970
  2. The Sex Discrimination Act 1975
  3. The Race Relations Act 1976
  4. The Disability Discrimination Act 1995
  5. The Employment Rights Act 1996
  6. The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000
  7. The Employment Act 2002
  8. The Race Relations act 1976 (Amendment) Regulations 2003
  9. The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003
  10. The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003
  11. The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006
  12. The Work and Families Act 2006

and any relevant amendments or re-enactments of such legislation, together with:

  1. The Commission for Racial Equality Code of Practice on Racial Equality in Employment (2006)
  2. The Equal Opportunities Commission Code of Practice on sex discrimination; equal opportunities, procedures and practices in employment (1985)
  3. The Equal Opportunities Code of Practice on Equal Pay (2003)
  4. The Disability Discrimination Act Codes of Practice in relation to rights of access to facilities, services and premises in employment
  5. The European Community Code of Practice on the protection of the dignity of men and women at work
  6. The Age Diversity at Work Code of Practice 2002

and any relevant amendments to such codes or further Codes of Practice.

Forms of Discrimination
Discrimination occurs when one person is treated less favourably than another is treated, or would be treated, in the same or similar circumstances without legitimate reason.

The grounds upon which a person must not be discriminated against are:
(a) race or racial group (including colour, nationality and ethnic or national origin); (b) sex (including marital status, gender reassignment, pregnancy, maternity and paternity); (c) sexual orientation (including civil partnership status); (d) religion or belief; (e) age; or (f) disability.

Discrimination can take a variety of forms including direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment, victimization, less favourable treatment and failure to make an adjustment.

The following are examples of the kinds of discrimination, which are against the Firm’s policy:

1. Direct discrimination
Where a person is treated less favourably on the grounds of age, race, racial group, colour, ethnic or national origins, sex, pregnancy, marital status, disability or sexual orientation or religion or belief.

2. Indirect discrimination
Where an apparently neutral provision, criterion or practice would put a substantially higher proportion of the members of age, 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.

3. Victimisation
Where someone is treated less favourably that others because he or she has taken action against the Firm under one of the relevant Acts.

4. 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.  This will include physical, verbal and non-verbal acts.

5.  Less favourable treatment
In respect of disability discrimination, this occurs when a person with a disability is treated in a detrimental way in circumstances when a person without that disability would not be so treated.