Diversity and inclusion policy

Types of discrimination

Direct discrimination 

Where a person is treated less favourably than another because of a protected characteristic. For example, to not promote a pregnant employee because she is about to go on maternity leave. This would be direct discrimination on the protected characteristic of the employee's sex and maternity.

Associative discrimination

Where someone is directly discriminated against or harassed for association with another person who has a protected characteristic.

Perceptive discrimination

Where there is a perception that someone has a particular protected characteristic when they do not. 

Indirect discrimination

When there is a policy that applies in the same way for everybody but disadvantages someone with a protected characteristic and you are affected as part of that group. Those using the policy must show that there is a good reason for it. A policy can include a practice, a rule or an arrangement. It makes no difference whether anyone intended the policy to disadvantage someone or not. 

Justification of discrimination

Sometimes direct discrimination may be justified where there is an occupational requirement. The occupational requirement must be:

  • crucial to the post
  • a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim

Indirect discrimination may be justified if it is proportionate and has a legitimate aim.

There are strict conditions that these defences must meet. We would have the burden of proving the justification.  

Managers must discuss with HR if they are considering these justifications. HR will advise on whether or not it is appropriate. 


Unwanted conduct, related to one of the protected characteristics, that has the purpose or effect of:

  • violating a person's dignity
  • or, creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment

Employees or the public can complain of behaviour that they find offensive even if it is not directed at them. The complainant need not have the relevant characteristic themselves. 

Those who commit severe acts of harassment may be guilty of a criminal offence.

Bullying an individual related to a protected characteristic can be unlawful behaviour. 

Bullying is offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour. It is an abuse or misuse of power. It undermines, humiliates, denigrates or injures an individual or a group of employees. 

This type of conduct is usually sustained.


An individual is subject to a detriment when, for example, an employee is denied a promotion because they: 

  • made or supported a complaint 
  • raised a grievance
  • are suspected of submitting a complaint or grievance


  • a member of the public being denied our services because they:
    • made or supported a complaint
    • raised a grievance or we suspect they have done so

It will not be victimisation if the person acted maliciously or made or supported a false complaint.

Failure to make a reasonable adjustment

We are committed to supporting employees and the public accessing our services who have a disability by making reasonable adjustments. 

By law, we must make reasonable adjustments.  These ensure we do not disadvantage disabled people compared to those who are not disabled.  They fall into three areas:

  • changing practices, policies and procedures 
  • physical feature, for example, a barrier
  • providing extra equipment or getting someone to do something to assist you

Examples of reasonable adjustments include, but are not limited to: 

  • re-arranging seating or furniture in the office space
  • provision of a reader, interpreter or signer
  • additional or modified equipment, such as specialised seating or software
  • flexibility in working practice, such as extra breaks or the ability to work from home

Where an employee requires an adjustment to their working arrangements, they should discuss this with their manager as soon as possible.