We all have a moral duty to treat others with respect, but it also makes sense from a good practice point of view. When people are treated fairly, they are more loyal, give better support, performance and attendance. This can also save time, effort and money on recruitment whilst retaining valuable skills within your group and keeping the support you need from your users and members.
However, treating people equally is not about treating everyone the same. Equal Opportunities are about ensuring that under-represented groups are provided with a fair and equal opportunity to participate. This means listening and responding to people’s individual needs.
Respecting and understanding the differences between people means that you are taking on broad diversity. By recognising the need for diversity you include everyone.
The statutory body dealing with the elimination of discrimination and reduction of inequality is the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
Does your group have a legal responsibility?
All organisations and group who:-
- provide goods, facilities or services to the general public (or even to a particular section of the general public) - irrespective of whether or not you charge for these
- employ people
will have legal responsibilities in respect of equalities.
However, everyone has a moral duty to treat people fairly and with respect. The Third Sector perhaps more than any other, has a good track record of involving people who may in some way be marginalised and often treated unfairly by others, this means that equalities legislation may be applicable to you where you may think it is not.
Having an equal opportunities policy in place and a commitment to reviewing that policy on a regular basis, is a simple way of demonstrating that you are being inclusive and applying anti-discrimination practices.
Your group's committee members will be responsible for ensuring that your group complies with equalities legislation and best practice. This includes making sure that they agree policies and procedures that prevent anyone from feeling they have not been treated fairly and ensuring that all members of staff and/or volunteers are aware of their legal duties and responsibilities.
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Last Updated 11/04/2013 13:22