4KBW
Legal 500

Equality Opportunities and Diversity Policy

Statement of Policy

1.The aims of the 4KBW Equal Opportunities and Diversity Policy (‘the Policy’) are to:

  • declare the commitment of 4KBW to the practical application and promotion of principles of equal opportunities and diversity;
  • communicate that commitment to 4KBW members, staff and other workers and service users;
  • promote further our core values.

The Policy must be read in conjunction with the Disability Policy and the Parental Leave Policy.

2.Under the Policy, Chambers will avoid discrimination and will promote equality in respect of:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Having or not having dependants
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marital or civil partnership status
  • Pregnancy or maternity
  • Race (including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins)
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation.

These are known, collectively, as the “protected characteristics”.

3.Chambers are opposed to all forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination on the prohibited grounds, including:

  • Direct discrimination – less favourable treatment because of a protected characteristic;
  • Indirect discrimination – the unjustifiable application of an apparently neutral provision or criterion the effect of which is to put a person at a particular disadvantage for reasons connected with a protected characteristic (for example, working hours or uniform requirements which disadvantage persons for reasons connected with child care responsibilities or religious beliefs);
  • Victimisation – unfavourable treatment because the victimised person has previously brought proceedings under the Equality Act 2010, or given evidence or information in connection with such proceedings, or otherwise alleged the commission of conduct which would amount to a breach of the Act or helped someone else to do so;
  • Harassment – unwanted conduct which is related to a protected characteristic and which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person;

All applicants for membership, employment, pupillage, and work experience and others who work with or for us will be treated fairly and will not be discriminated against on any of the prohibited grounds.

Decisions about membership, recruitment and selection, promotion, training, pay, disciplinary action and any other matter will be made objectively and without unlawful discrimination.

4.The Policy has regard to the legal obligations, principles and guidance derived from the Equality Act 2010 and the related Codes of Practice.

The policy also reflects Chambers’ commitment to promoting respect for fundamental human rights and compliance with European Union discrimination law.

5.Chambers recognises that the provision of equal opportunities in the workplace is not merely right as a matter of principle and consistent with our core values, but that it is also good management practice and makes sound business sense. The Policy will help us, and those who work with and for us, to develop their full potential, and thus promotes respect for the individual worth of all people involved with 4KBW.

Scope of the Policy

6.This policy applies to:

  • Members, including associate and academic members
  • Employees
  • Pupils
  • Students on work experience/Interns
  • Contract workers (including casual workers)
  • Agency workers
  • Volunteer workers
  • Clients (lay and professional) and other service users
  • Anyone who has formerly fallen into one of the categories above, but whose relationship with 4KBW has either terminated or altered

Equality Commitments

7.4KBW is committed to:

  • Promoting equality of opportunity for all persons;
  • Promoting a good and harmonious working environment in which all persons are treated with respect;
  • Preventing occurrences of unlawful direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation;
  • Fulfilling all its legal obligations under the Equality Act 2010 and associated codes of practice;
  • Fulfilling all equality and diversity obligations imposed by the Bar Standards Board;
  • Complying with this Policy;
  • Complying with Chambers’ Disability Policy;
  • Taking lawful positive action where appropriate.
  • Regarding breaches of this Policy and of Chambers’ Disability Policy as potential misconduct which could lead to disciplinary proceedings against members, employees and other workers, or a cessation of service to clients or other service users.

Implementation

8.Responsibility for implementation of the Policy lies with the Head of Chambers.

9.In order to implement the policy, Chambers shall:

  • Communicate the Policy to all persons referred to above except contract workers, agency workers, volunteer workers and clients, by providing all such persons with a copy of this Policy;
  • Inform all contract workers, agency workers and volunteer workers of the existence of this Policy and provide a copy of this Policy to such persons upon request;
  • Retain hard copies of this Policy in Chambers and provide a copy of it (in hard or electronic form) to every new member, employee, pupil and student on work experience/intern. Our terms of service will also refer to it and identify the name of the person in Chambers from whom a copy of this Policy may be obtained;
  • Require all members, employees, pupils and students on work experience to sign a copy of this Policy;
  • Provide equality training and guidance as appropriate, including training on induction and management courses. Such training is compulsory for all members, pupils and employees, and shall be renewed at regular intervals;
  • Ensure that all members and employees who are involved in assessing candidates for recruitment or promotion are or have been trained in non-discriminatory selection techniques;
  • Review the conduct of third party organisations which do business with 4KBW, in respect of their dealings with 4KBW, and endeavour to ensure that 4KBW only does business with third party organisations who respect equal opportunities principles in their dealings with 4KBW;
  • Ensure that adequate resources are made available to fulfil the objectives of this Policy.

Recruitment

10.Advertisements for membership, employment and pupillages will give sufficiently clear and accurate information to enable potential applicants to assess their own suitability for the post. Information about vacant posts will be provided in such a manner that does not restrict its audience in terms of gender (including gender reassignment), race, marital status, disability, age, part-time status, sexual orientation or religion.

11.Chambers will publish the statement set out below on all advertisements and detailed vacancy information for staff positions, work experience placements, traineeship and membership:

“4KBW is proud to be an equal opportunities employer and is committed to diversity amongst its staff and members. We therefore encourage and welcome applications from women, people of minority ethnic origin and people with disabilities, as well as candidates from other groups which are under-represented in the legal sector. We are happy to make reasonable adjustments to enable disabled candidates to demonstrate their suitability for the job.”

12.Recruitment literature will not imply a preference for one group of applicants except in pursuance of lawful positive action.

13.All vacancies for employment will be circulated internally as well as externally, through appropriate non-discriminatory advertising. Where appropriate, persons from under-represented groups will be particularly invited to apply and in all cases those advertising opportunities that are likely to attract the widest and/or most diverse group of candidates will be used.

14.All descriptions and specifications for posts will only include requirements that are necessary and justifiable for the performance of the job.

15.All selection will be thorough, conducted against defined criteria and will deal only with the applicant’s suitability for the job. Where it is necessary to ask questions relating to personal circumstances, these will be related purely to the requirements of the job and will be asked of all candidates.

Monitoring and Review

16.Chambers will establish appropriate information, monitoring and review systems to assist the effective implementation of the Policy. These will include:

17.Equality and Diversity Monitoring of Members and staff and other workers in Chambers in accordance with regularity requirements and regular review of the effectiveness of this Policy in the light of that data;

18.Monitoring all recruitment rounds (members and staff) at each stage (application, shortlist/selection for interview, appointment) and reviewing the outcome of that monitoring for the purposes of determining whether the Policy is operating effectively;

19.Monitoring the number of grievances, and complaints under the Policy and Disability policies by reference to the complainant’s equality and diversity data;

20.Monitoring the number of disciplinary actions by reference to the equality and diversity data of the person subject to disciplinary action.

21.Where monitoring identifies significant under-representation or disadvantage of any group, 4KBW will develop an action plan to address the imbalance or disadvantage.

22.Steps will be taken to ensure that the information gathered will only be treated for the purposes of giving effect to this policy. The information will be treated confidentially with only the Equal Opportunities Officer and the Head of Chambers having access to it, save where it is necessary to disclose it to all Members for the purposes of any decision requiring Membership approval and then such information will to the greatest extent possible be produced in anonymised form.

Complaints

23.Anyone to whom this policy applies who believes that s/he has suffered any form of discrimination, harassment or victimisation contrary to the Policy, is entitled to raise that concern through the Grievance Procedure.

24.All complaints of discrimination, harassment or victimisation will be treated confidentially, seriously and promptly.