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Equality and Diversity Policy

Introduction and Scope

All of our personnel are aware of our policy in relation to discrimination, equality and diversity. Our policy deals with all our professional dealings with clients, other solicitors, barristers and third parties, and so covers:-

  • Accepting instructions from clients
  • Using experts and counsel
  • The provision of services to clients
  • Dealings with those representing others
  • Inter-action with everyone involved in or incidental to the provision of our services and the procurement of supplies and services.

The policy also extents to the recruitment, training and promotion of people within the practice. In connection with both aspects, it is the case that all personnel must comply not only with the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s professional requirements but also with all laws applicable.

Forms of Discrimination  

The following are the kinds of discrimination which are against the company’s policy:

  • Direct discrimination, where a person is, without lawful cause, less favourably treated because of race, colour, ethnic or national origins, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, religion or belief, disability or age.
  • Indirect discrimination, where a requirement or condition which cannot be justified is applied equally to all groups but has a disproportionately adverse effect on members of one particular group by reason or race, colour ethnic or national origins, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, religion or belief, disability or age.
  • Victimisation, where someone is treated less favourably than others because he or she has taken action against the company under one or more of the relevant anti-discrimination legislative provisions.
  • Harassment, which occurs when unwanted conduct on the grounds of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief, disability or age has the effect of violating another person’s dignity or creating and intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.

Disability Provisions

In addition to our obligations not to discriminate against, harass or victimise those with a disability we are also subject to a duty to make reasonable adjustments to prevent those employees, partners and clients who are disabled from being at a disadvantage in comparison with those who are not disabled. Discrimination law deals with the concept of indirect discrimination through the requirement to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people.

Policy Statement

Waring & Co is therefore committed to avoiding discrimination in its dealings with clients, partners, employees and all other third parties that have dealings with the company. It is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of its professional activities.

Everyone at the company is expected and required to treat others equally and with the same attention, courtesy and respect regardless of their:

  • Race (including colour, nationality and national or ethnic origins)
  • Gender (including martial status, adopted gender, pregnancy, maternity and paternity)
  • Disability
  • Sexual orientation (including civil partnership status)
  • Age

In addition, the company will ensure that nobody with whom it has dealings will knowingly suffer any substantial disadvantage arising from any disability that they might have. The company is committed to making reasonable adjustments for those with a disability in relation to job opportunities, promotion and training within the company and the provision of services to clients.

All the areas of discrimination set out above are collectively referred to as “the above grounds” in the rest of this document.

Enforcement

Everybody should be aware that any breach of this policy is potentially a major risk to the practice. The company does not carry insurance against the consequences of any illegal breach, and any claims in this regard are also likely to involve the company in significant commitments of managerial time. Further, a breach may be a serious professional offence, and liability may attach not only to the individual(s) concerned, but also the owners of the company. For that reason, any breach is likely to be regarded as a disciplinary offence. If anyone is concerned that a breach of this policy may be occurring or has a complaint that they have been a victim of a breach they should immediately report this to David Winston, Director.

Training

This company has arranged training sessions for all personnel on this topic and will arrange further training if and when appropriate. This policy forms part of our induction training programme.

Planning

For its part, the management of the company has considered all aspects of its operations to ensure their compliance with their professional rules. Any developments of the company’s strategic and business planning, or changes in this manual, will similarly be examined in order to ensure that no inadvertent breach of the code occurs.

Clients

The company is generally free to decide whether it accepts instructions from any particular client, but any refusal to act will not be based on any of the above grounds and care must also be taken to avoid there being any perception that they apply. Clients with mobility disability are provided with home visits at no additional cost to them.

Barristers and Other Experts

Barristers and experts should be instructed on the basis of their skills, experience and ability. This company will not discriminate in the instruction of barristers and/or experts on any of the above grounds.

A client’s request for a named barrister or expert should be complied with, subject to the firm’s duty to discuss with the client the suitability of the barrister or expert and to advise appropriately. The company has a duty to discuss with the client any request by the client that only a barrister or expert as defined by any of the above grounds be instructed. The company will endeavour to persuade the client to modify instructions which appear to be given on discriminatory grounds. Should the client refuse to modify such instructions, the company will cease to act unless the preference can be justified under the legal provisions dealing with genuine occupational requirements or genuine occupational qualifications.

Employment, Training, Promotion and Directorship Opportunities

The practice is committed to providing equal opportunities in employment. This means that all jobs applicants, employees and directors will receive equal treatment in relation to the above grounds. It makes good business sense for the company to ensure that its most important resource – its people – are treated in a fair and effective way.

The practice will also comply with the law and the professional requirements in relation to is partners. Thus, where appropriate, the existing directors will not discriminate on any of the above grounds in the arrangements they make for the purpose of determining to whom they should offer employment or directorship, the terms on which any directorship is offered, or by refusing to offer, or deliberately not offering a directorship to anyone. Nor shall the directors discriminate in any way in relation to the provisions of benefits to any director, or in relation to any matter relating to the expulsion of any director or any detriment to be suffered by him/her. Similar provisions shall apply in relation to members and directors of recognised bodies.

Recruitment Agencies

The practice will take steps to ensure that applications are attracted from people without regards to the above grounds and will ensure that there are equal opportunities in all stages of the recruitment process. Since recruitment to the company is achieved through a small number of agencies, steps have been taken to ensure that they support our general approach to the subject.

Monitoring and Review

The equality and diversity policy will be reviewed annually by the practice to judge its effectiveness, Mr David Winston, Director, is responsible for the operation of the policy.

The company has appointed Mr David Winston to be responsible for the operation of the policy. In particular, the company will monitor the ethnic and gender composition or existing staff and of applicants for jobs (including promotion), and the number of people with disabilities within these groups, and will review its equal opportunities policy in accordance with the results shown by monitoring. If changes are required, the company with implement them. For its part, the management of the company has considered all aspects of its operations, as set out in the office manual, to ensure their compliance with the code. Any developments of the company’s strategic and business plans, or changed to the office manual, will similarly be examined in order to ensure that no inadvertent breach of the code occurs.

In relation to new positions, those conducting any interviews for vacancies within the practice will complete a form which will be returned to David Winston, Director, for monitoring purposes.

Waring & Co Legal Limited fully complies with the professional requirement to complete and return Equality and Diversity data to the Solicitors Regulation Authority as and when requested.

Our Polish speaking team specialise exclusively in personal injury claims and accidents at work for the Polish speaking community, not just locally but across England and Wales.