EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY STATEMENT
Slater Gordon Solutions Legal Limited trading as Accident Advice Helpline is committed to a workplace and providing a service which does everything it can to eliminate direct or indirect discrimination on the grounds of:
Accident Advice Helpline values the diverse nature of its employees and of those clients using our services. Our diversity is reflected throughout our practices, policies and the manner in which we provide our services to the public.
We are actively committed to promoting and encouraging our organisation’s diversity. Accident Advice Helpline employees come from a rich variety of backgrounds, age groups, life experiences, schooling and religious faiths. We see this as nothing but a positive strength. We aim to create a culture throughout our organisation where equality and diversity are seen as the norm.
We are committed to promoting equality and diversity within our own organisation and in those areas where we have influence. This extends to our professional dealings with clients, other solicitors, barristers and third parties.
Accident Advice Helpline aims to treat everybody with the same attention, courtesy and respect and equality of opportunity. We aim to apply the highest standards of equality in our delivery of services and employment practices promoting equality through our conduct and our commitment to a safer and more just society.
Our commitment extends to more than positive action to promote opportunity and eradicate discrimination. It means that we are actively committed to encouraging and promoting the richness brought to our organisation through diversity. A commitment to equality is a requirement of all employees and those organisations associated with our firm.
All who work for or with Accident Advice Helpline have a duty to:
- Promote equality and diversity in staff recruitment, retention and promotion
- Promote equality and diversity in the delivery of our services
- Promote an atmosphere in which people of all backgrounds feel welcome, valued and respected.
- Comply with the equality and diversity outcomes in Chapters 2 and 9 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011
Our Relationship with Our Clients
Accident Advice Helpline is generally free to decide whether to accept instructions from any particular client but, any refusal to act will not be based on any of the protected characteristics.
Accident Advice Helpline will take steps to meet the differing needs of clients which may arise through legislation (Equalities Act 2010) or through specific cultural needs accepting that different communities and individuals have differing needs, needs that should not be defined by stereotyping or presumption.
Specialist services should be instructed on the basis of their skills, experience and ability.
Clients request to instruct a named individual should be complied with, subject to the firm’s duty to discuss with the client the suitability of the specialist and to advise appropriately.
The firm will discuss with the client any request by the client to instruct a specialist services on the basis that it excludes the instruction of an individual who holds a protected characteristic. In the absence of a valid reason for the request, which must be within the exemptions permitted by 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 the instructions the firm will cease to act.
Those services providers utilised by the business will be nominated or instructed only on the basis of the ability of those persons or organisations to undertake work of a particular type and will contain no discriminatory exclusion, restriction or preference.
In all its dealings, including those with suppliers, contractors and recruitment agencies, the firm will seek to promote the principles of equality and diversity.
The firm will make every effort to reflect its commitment to equality and diversity in its marketing and communication activities.
As an employer we will treat all employees and job applicants equally and fairly and will not discriminate unjustifiably against them. We have arrangements for:
- Recruitment and selection
- Terms and conditions of employment
- Access to training opportunities and promotions
- Grievances and disciplinary processes
- Dress code and references
- Other employment related matters
Accident Advice Helpline’s Staff Handbook holds a Diversity Policy which covers conduct within the workplace. The ethos of the policy extends beyond employment relationships to the relationship with clients and third parties.
All staff of Accident Advice Helpline must also comply with the Outcomes in Chapters 2 and 9 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011.
Recruitment and Selection
Accident Advice Helpline endeavours to recruit from the widest pool of qualified candidates. Employment opportunities are open and accessible to all on the basis of individual qualities and personal merit. Selection criteria do not discriminate unjustifiably on the basis of any protected characteristic. In the event that we should utilise the services of a recruitment agency, they will be made aware of the requirement not to discriminate and to act accordingly.
It is not permissible to discriminate at the point of employment however it is permissible, at the point of selection at recruitment, to consider recruitment based on positive action to select under-represented groups. If it is necessary for us to redress equalities in the workplace (as a result of monitoring data or policy review) we will do this through positively encouraging people from these groups to apply for employment with Accident Advice Helpline, ensuring that any disadvantaged groups have equal opportunity with regard to access, training and career development through the use of mentoring, legal or other qualifications.
Victimisation and Harassment in the Workplace
Accident Advice Helpline recognises that this is a barrier to achieving our commitment to equality and the Staff Handbook details a specific policy. Harassment of our employees, within the workplace, or by third parties is unacceptable and AAH remains focused on an organisation culture which is free from such treatment.
Annual workforce data will be collected to inform future practice and policy development to ensure that Accident Advice Helpline are able to react to any unintended consequences of recruitment drives or the effect of any particular leaver groups.
Applications for employment will include a request for anonymous diversity data which will be removed and retained by the HR Team prior to commencement of the selection process.
We will also record the nature and outcome of complaints of discrimination made by employees, clients and other parties.
This statement and policy will be reviewed on an annual basis or directly following any legislative change which impacts upon equality and diversity.
Employment policies are reviewed annually or directly following any legislative change to ensure that Accident Advice Helpline operates under ‘best practice’ guidance
Date Published: 9th April 2013
Author: David Brown