As a public body it isn’t enough for us to simply avoid discrimination – we have to actively consider and promote equality in everything we do.
The University’s Equality Policy states that, ‘All staff who manage or supervise other staff or students are responsible for ensuring that equality is embedded in the work of their team, for promoting an inclusive working, research and learning environment, and for promoting a culture of dignity and respect where issues can be raised without fear of reprisal.’
What does this mean in practice?
Advancing equality of opportunity means that we should:
- Remove or minimise disadvantages suffered by people due to their protected characteristics, e.g. examination rescheduling for students fasting for Ramadan;
- Take steps to meet the needs of people from protected groups where these are different from the needs of other people, e.g. providing a private space for breastfeeding;
- Encourage people from protected groups to participate in activities where their participation is disproportionately low, e.g. introducing targeted scholarships under positive action.
As a manager, you also have a responsibility to uphold the University’s harassment policy: ‘All managers have a duty to implement this Policy and to make every effort to ensure that harassment and victimisation do not occur in the areas of work for which they are responsible and, that if they do occur, any concerns are investigated promptly and effectively.’
These useful flowcharts for University staff and students summarise the process of dealing with an allegation of harassment.
There are many sources of support, both within the University and outside, that you can suggest to staff if they have experienced harassment.
You may find it helpful for you or your team to attend a training course to help you prevent and deal with harassment. We highly recommend:
- Challenging behaviour: dealing with bullying and harassment in the workplace (online self-directed course)
- Responsible Bystander (facilitated workshop, in person or online/hybrid)
Supporting disabled staff
Managers should also ensure that they make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for any member of staff with a disability. For more information about how to support disabled staff members, see our Managers’ Toolkit for supporting disabled staff. This includes information on:
- Reasonable adjustments and Workplace Adjustment Plans
- Funding through Access to Work
- Specific disabilities and how they may affect people at work
- Supporting staff with mental ill-health