Equality and diversity policy

1. Introduction

1.1. The Macular Society works to prevent disadvantage, promote participation, independence and autonomy as well as foster understanding, dignity and respect for people with macular disease. Our vision and mission demonstrate that equality, diversity and human rights are fundamental core founding principles for the Macular Society.

1.2. This policy sets out the Macular Society’s commitment to promoting equality and diversity and promoting a culture that actively values difference and recognises that people from different backgrounds and experiences can bring valuable insights and enhance the way we work. We are committed to the principles of equality, diversity and human rights.

1.3. This policy covers all of our functions, both in employment and the provision of our services.

1.4. We wish to create an environment in which the services we provide and our workplace and volunteering environment are free from unfair or unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation.

1.5. We will challenge inequality, discrimination and disadvantage and will work to achieve the highest standards of service delivery, volunteering opportunities and employment practices.

1.6. We will work to ensure that equality, diversity and human rights principles are owned, valued and maintained by everyone at the Macular Society; our Board, our members, our staff, volunteers and those who provide services on our behalf.

1.7. Everybody has a right to be treated with dignity and respect and in doing so; the Macular Society recognises its legal obligations under the Equality Act 2010, Human Rights Act 1998 and The UN Convention on The Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified in 2009. This is reflected in our policy, setting out that the Macular Society works to promote a culture of respect and dignity and will actively challenge discrimination.

2. Statement of intent

2.1. We recognise and seek to eliminate any inequality and discrimination which may be direct, indirect or due to association or perception.

2.2. No one who uses or seeks to use our services, volunteers or who is a prospective or actual member or employee should receive less favourable treatment because of their: age, disability, caring status, dependent status, gender, trans-gender status, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity status, race, colour, ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation, religion, belief or trade union affiliation.

2.3. No one who uses or seeks to use our services or who is a prospective or actual employee, member or volunteer should be subject to harassment or victimisation because of any personal characteristic outlined at 2.3.

2.4. We fully support and will comply with all legal requirements and Codes of Practice issued to support the Equality Act 2010, in addition to the Human Rights Act 1998 and the UN Convention on The Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified in 2009.

3. Service delivery

In respect of our services, the Macular Society seeks to:

3.1. Provide services that meet the needs of those individuals, families and carers experiencing macular disease in a fair, equitable and non- discriminatory way.

3.2. Embed the human rights principles of fairness, respect, equality, dignity and autonomy in all that we do.

3.3. Consider the needs of diverse service users and volunteers when we are planning and delivering our services.

3.4. Consult, engage, involve and work in partnership with communities and individuals.

3.5. Be accessible and flexible when providing our services taking the differing needs of individuals and communities into account.

3.6. Assess our policies, programmes and processes for their impact upon equality and take action to address adverse impact where this is identified and where possible.

3.7. Monitor and evaluate our services to ensure that they are meeting the needs of our service users, members, volunteers, carers and relatives.

4. Employment

4.1 The Macular Society is committed to:

  • Ensuring equality of opportunity and non-discrimination in recruitment and selection.
  •  Ensuring fair and equitable access to training, development and progression opportunities.
  • Promoting equal pay.
  •  Providing reasonable adjustments for disabled employees and promoting disabled peoples’ participation in the workplace.
  • Providing flexible working where possible.
  • Investigating and addressing bullying and harassment in the workplace.

4.2 Monitoring and evaluating the equality and diversity policy. 

The Macular Society will seek to:

  • Provide equality and diversity training for everyone employed at the Macular Society.
  • Assess our policies and procedures for their impact upon equality and diversity and take action to address adverse impact where this is identified and where possible.

4.3 The Macular Society:

  • Recognises the individual value that employees bring to our organisation.
  • Encourages employees to continuously improve and further develop their skill sets.
  • Uses a performance management system that encourages fact-based feedback and promotes regular opportunities to discuss progress and development.
  • Considers information sharing and open communication essential to achieving our goals; employees are encouraged to actively communicate with managers and colleagues.
  • Remunerates according to the skills and experience of our employees taking into account local market conditions and our charitable status.

5 Implementation and resources

5.1 Trustees and the Council of the Macular Society are responsible for overseeing progress toward achieving the aims of this policy. Specific responsibility for its effective implementation rests with the Chief Executive but all Directors and managers are responsible for ensuring that equality and diversity is effectively integrated, implemented and monitored within their service areas.

5.2 Individual employees also have a responsibility to abide by the policy and co-operate with measures introduced to promote equality of opportunity.

5.3 In implementing this policy, we will:

  • Communicate the policy to our employees and job applicants.
  • Publicise our policy to service users, volunteers and members.
  • Obtain commitments from those providing services for the Society that they will comply with the policy.
  • Ensure that adequate resources are available to fulfil the objectives of the policy.

6 Monitoring and review

6.1 We will establish information and monitoring systems to assist us in assessing how we are progressing on equality and diversity in service provision, volunteering, membership and as an employer. Any information collected will normally be anonymised (see 6.2).

6.2 Information about a person’s ethnic origin, disability, religion or sexual orientation are sensitive personal data. We will ensure that, if such information is to be processed, the reason for processing satisfies a sensitive data condition.

6.3 This policy will be reviewed as a minimum on an annual basis.

7 Complaints of discrimination

7.1 Any employee or job applicant that believes that they have been discriminated against or have suffered harassment or victimisation can raise this by using the procedures that are contained in the Staff Handbook. All complaints will be dealt with seriously, promptly and confidentially.

7.2 Anyone who believes that they have been discriminated against or have suffered harassment or victimisation in relation to the services we provide can raise this by contacting the Chief Executive.

7.3 Anyone who believes that they have been discriminated against or have suffered harassment or victimisation in relation to participating as a volunteer or receiving volunteer services can raise this by contacting the Chief Executive.

7.4 Anyone who believes that they have been discriminated against or have suffered harassment or victimisation in relation to membership services can raise this by contacting the Chief Executive.

ANNEX - types of discrimination

There are various types of discrimination prohibited by this policy. The main types are:

1) Direct discrimination

Direct discrimination occurs where one person is treated less favourably than another because of a protected characteristic set out in this policy. By way of example, refusing to promote a pregnant employee on the basis that she is shortly due to go on maternity leave would be direct discrimination on the protected characteristic of the employee's sex. Other types of direct discrimination are: Associative discrimination - this is direct discrimination against someone because they associate with another person who possesses a protected characteristic. For example, an employee is discriminated against because his/her son is disabled.

Perceptive discrimination - this is direct discrimination against an individual because others think they possess a particular protected characteristic. For example, where co-workers believe the individual is gay. It applies even if the person does not actually possess that characteristic.

2) Indirect discrimination

Indirect discrimination occurs when an unjustifiable requirement or condition is applied, which appears to be the same for all, but which has a disproportionate, adverse effect on one group of people. This is discrimination even though there was no intention to discriminate. For example, a requirement for UK based qualifications could disadvantage applicants who have obtained their qualifications outside of the UK; this could amount to indirect discrimination on the grounds of race 3) Victimisation

Victimisation is where an employee is treated less favourably than others because they have asserted legal rights against Macular Society or assisted a colleague in doing so. For example, victimisation may occur where an employee has raised a genuine grievance against Macular Society and is demoted as a result.

4) Harassment

Harassment is “unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual.” It is important to remember that it is not the intention of the harasser but how the recipient perceives their behaviour, which determines whether harassment has occurred.

Approved by: Company Secretary (Cathy Yelf)

Date: July 2019

Review: July 2020