2011 Equality Policy

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This policy applies to all National Library of Scotland employees, applicants for employment, volunteers and work experience students, agency workers, customers, contractors and suppliers.

1. Aim

The National Library of Scotland (the Library) aims to ensure fair and equal treatment of all staff, customers and other stakeholders and actively promote equality and diversity.

2. Principles

The Equality Policy (the policy) outlines the Library's approach to equality and sets out the key principles that the organisation will adhere to:

Elimination of discrimination. The Library opposes all forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination related to:

  • Gender (including gender reassignment)
  • Race (including ethnic origin, nationality, national origin)
  • Disability
  • Age
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion or belief
  • Pregnancy or maternity
  • Marital status (including civil partnerships)
  • Working pattern (including part-time and temporary work).

The Library will take action to identify and eliminate any direct or indirect discriminatory practices, which act as barriers to achieving the policy's aims. Any employee who considers they may have been unlawfully discriminated against may use the Library's grievance procedure to make a complaint.

Respect, dignity and fair treatment. We aim to create an environment for our employees and customers which promotes dignity, respect and fair treatment for all. No form of intimidation, bullying or harassment will be tolerated. Breaches of our equality policy will be regarded as misconduct and will be investigated under the terms of the Library's Disciplinary Policy.

Equality of opportunity. The Library recognises that the provision of equal opportunities in all our activities will benefit the organisation. We will tackle barriers to participation and create a culture in which equal opportunities and equal treatment are a priority for all staff and customers.

3. Putting policy into practice

As a service provider, the Library will:

  • Work to continually improve services to make sure that they are accessible and provided fairly to everyone in our community
  • Make sure that all customers are treated with dignity and respect, and that we recognise and value people's differences
  • Communicate our equality policy to customers, suppliers and contractors delivering services on our behalf
  • Take account of equality factors when we award and monitor contracts and procure services.

As an employer, the Library will:

  • Make sure that decisions on selection for employment, promotion, training or any other benefit are made objectively on the basis of aptitude and ability
  • Provide a safe and accessible working environment where all employees are treated with dignity and respect, and where the need to achieve a balance between work and personal responsibilities is recognised
  • Continue to develop fair and flexible employment policies and practices that respond to the different needs of employees
  • Provide effective procedures for reporting incidents of discrimination or harassment, from colleagues or customers, that make sure complaints are dealt with fairly and promptly
  • Develop and train our staff to help them recognise equality issues and further understand their role and responsibilities in achieving equality
  • Consult staff and Trade Unions to develop, monitor and implement this policy effectively.

4. Monitoring and reporting

The Library will audit and monitor procedures for services and employment and report, at least once a year, to the Board of Trustees, employees and the community on how we put this policy statement into practice as required under the Public Sector Equality Duties.

5. Mainstreaming

The Library aims to ensure that equality is threaded though every aspect of the organisation's planning, services and operations and that promoting equal opportunities is the responsibility of all staff.

6. Responsibilities

Responsibilities of all employees:

  • To act in line with the policy and its related procedures
  • To treat colleagues and customers with dignity and respect
  •  Do not discriminate against other employees or customers
  • To challenge discrimination or inappropriate behaviour
  • To report any discriminatory acts or practices.

Responsibilities of all managers:

  • To act as a role model to promote equality within the Library
  • To ensure that the standards established within this Policy are adhered to within their own area of responsibility
  • To consider the impact of their action / inaction on the equality of opportunity
  • To be alert and identify risks (e.g. practices or behaviours) that may lead to breaches of the policy
  • To investigate and act upon cases of discrimination, victimisation, bullying and harassment
  • To promote equal opportunities and encourage diversity within the workforce
  • To ensure that information on equal opportunities is incorporated in the induction process and is supported by ongoing training.

Responsibilities of Human Resources:

  • To formulate, monitor, evaluate and review the Equality Policy to ensure consistency of application
  • To communicate the policy, internally and externally
  • To provide advice and guidance to line managers and staff
  • To support managers in investigating issues relating to potential discrimination
  • To monitor employment policies and practices
  • To facilitate training and development initiatives on equality of opportunity.

Responsibility of the Director of Corporate Services:

  • To ensure that the Library complies with the Equality legislation.

Responsibilities of the Board of Trustees:

  • To have due regard when exercising their functions to the need for the Library to eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited under the 2010 Equality Act
  • To support the Library's activities in promoting equality of opportunity
  • To support the fostering of good relations between different groups.

The main definitions and concepts related to the policy are given in Appendix 1.

Appendix 1. Definitions

The Equality Act 2010 came into force on 1st October 2010 and it introduced new definitions of discrimination, victimisation, and harassment:

Direct discrimination
A person (A) discriminates against another (B) if, because of a protected characteristic, A treats B less favourably than A treats or would treat others.

The direct discrimination includes discrimination by association and perception. Discrimination by association means discrimination against someone because of that person's association with someone having a protected characteristic.  Discrimination by perception means discrimination because of a person's perceived characteristic.

Indirect discrimination
A person (A) discriminates against another (B) if A applies to B a provision, criterion or practice which is discriminatory in relation to a relevant protected characteristic of B's.

Discrimination arising from disability
(1) A person (A) discriminates against a disabled person (B) if —
(a) A treats B unfavourably because of something arising in consequence of B's disability, and
(b) A cannot show that the treatment is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply if A shows that A did not know, and could not
reasonably have been expected to know, that B had the disability.

A person (A) victimises another person (B) if A subjects B to a detriment because — (a) B does a protected act, or
(b) A believes that B has done, or may do, a protected act.

A person (A) harasses another (B) if —
(a) A engages in unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, and (b) the conduct has the purpose or effect of —
(i) violating B's dignity, or
(ii) creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for B.


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