Solidum Solicitors is committed to eliminating unlawful discrimination, harassment and bullying, and to promoting equality and diversity within our policies, practices and procedures. We are also committed to promoting equality and diversity in the practice. This applies to our professional dealings with clients, staff and partners, other solicitors and any third parties. We shall treat everyone appropriately and with the same attention, courtesy and respect regardless of:
(c) gender reassignment;
(e) nationality, colour, ethnic or national origins;
(h) sexual orientation;
(i) marital status/civil partnership;
(j) Aids/HIV positive status;
(k) pregnancy, maternity, paternity or caring responsibility;
(l) work pattern;
(m) membership or non-membership of a trade union; or
(n) any other reason which is irrelevant to the employee’s ability to do the job.
The practice will take all reasonable steps to ensure that employees do not unlawfully discriminate under the terms of this policy and any legislation in force.
This policy covers all individuals working at all levels and grades, including partners, senior managers, officers, directors, employees, consultants, contractors, trainees, home workers, part-time and fixed-term employees, casual and agency staff and volunteers, collectively referred to as staff in this policy.
Third parties who have access to the practice’s electronic communication systems and equipment are also required to comply with this policy.
Meeting Client Needs:
As a provider of private and publicly funded legal services, the practice will treat all clients equally and fairly and not unlawfully discriminate against them. The practice will also take steps to promote equality of opportunity in relation to access to the legal services that we provide, taking account of the diversity of the communities that we serve.
The practice is committed to meeting the diverse needs of clients, and will take steps to identify the needs of clients in our community, and develop policies and procedures setting out how we will meet clients’ needs and for ensuring the services we provide are accessible to all. We will take account, in particular, of the needs of clients with a disability, and clients who are unable to communicate effectively in English. We will consider whether particular groups are predominant within our client base and devise appropriate policies to meet their needs.
The practice will devise policies and procedures to promote and raise awareness to ensure that our services are accessible for a diverse range of clients.
In particular we will:
(a) in the development of our policies, take account of the interests of all sections of society;
(b) ensure that, wherever possible, the services we provide meet the needs and expectations of
all our clients;
(c) seek to influence others with whom we often work, and from whom we purchase goods and
services, to share our commitment to valuing the diversity of our society;
(d) regularly assess our progress towards becoming a diverse organisation providing excellent
service to all sections of society;
(e) organise training to ensure that all members of staff are aware of the need to understand the
purpose of the policy and to put the policy into practice;
(f) ensure all new and existing employees are referred to the equality and diversity policy;
(g) ensure that partners and employees:
(i) deal with people with courtesy, politeness and consideration regardless of background;
(ii) take care to assess what clients can understand and to ask clients how they need to
communicate – rather than make assumptions about this based on their ethnic origin, age
(iii) ensure that clients are advised that, where the office premises are not accessible to them, a
home visit can be arranged;
(iv) in the case of clients with a physical disability visiting the office premises, ensure that, as far
as possible, their safety is assured and access to the premises is organised;
(v) provide clients with an impairment (visual, hearing, or speech) with options for
(vi) in a case of clients where English is not their first language, provide access to language
interpretations/translation wherever possible.
Dealing with third parties:
The practice will not unlawfully discriminate in dealings with third parties. This applies to dealings with other legal service providers, e.g. counsel and general procurement, medical, mechanical and other experts that may be appointed to provide specialist services and advice. The practice will instruct third parties on the basis of their skills, experience and ability, and not unlawfully discriminate, or encourage others to unlawfully discriminate, on the grounds of their age, gender, marital status, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability.
As an employer, the practice will treat all staff (as described under ‘scope’ above) and job applicants fairly, and not unlawfully discriminate against them. This applies equally to voluntary positions and anyone undertaking work experience with the practice. This will, for example, include arrangements for recruitment and selection, terms and conditions of employment, access to training opportunities, access to promotion and transfers, grievance and disciplinary processes, demotions, selection for redundancies, dress code, references, bonus schemes, work allocation and any other employment related activities.
The practice recognises the benefits of having a diverse work force and will take steps to ensure that:
(a) it endeavours to recruit from the widest practical pool of qualified candidates;
(b) employment opportunities are open and accessible to all on the basis of their individual
qualities and personal merit, while at the same time, applying a standard skills requirement;
(c) where appropriate, positive action measures are taken to attract applicants from all sections
(d) all recruitment agencies acting for the practice are made aware of the practice’s equality and
diversity policy and are expected to work within it;
(e) each member of staff is guaranteed a contract of employment;
(f) it commits to a grievance and disciplinary procedure as part of a ‘dignity at work
The practice will treat all employees appropriately, and create a working environment which is free from unlawful discrimination, and one which respects the diverse backgrounds and beliefs of employees. The provision of benefits such as flexible working hours, maternity and other leave arrangements, performance appraisal systems, dress code, bonus schemes and any other conditions of employment, will not unlawfully discriminate against any employee on the grounds of age, gender and gender reassignment, marital status, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation and disability.
Where appropriate and necessary, the practice will endeavour to provide appropriate facilities and conditions of service which take into account the specific needs of employees arising from, for example, their disability, ethnic or cultural background, gender and gender reassignment, responsibilities as carers, religion or belief or sexual orientation.
Contravention of this policy:
Proven acts of unlawful discrimination on any of the forbidden grounds, by employees or partners of the practice, will result in disciplinary action, as will any failure to comply with this policy. The practice will take appropriate action on receipt of any complaint of unlawful discrimination on any of the forbidden grounds that is made by employees, partners, clients or third parties. Any complaints of unlawful discrimination could, if upheld, be treated as gross misconduct, with the attendant consequences.
With regard to personnel and clients, the practice will provide equality and diversity information required by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.