Equal Opportunities

  • Statement
  • Racial and Sexual Harassment
  • Racial Harassment
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures in the case of Harassment and Discrimination
  • Informal Procedure
  • Formal Procedure
  • Disability Discrimination
  • Age Discrimination


Harris Hill is an equal opportunities employer/consultancy. This means that it is company policy to make every effort to ensure, that there is no discrimination or harassment on the grounds of of sex, sexual orientation, marital status, age, disability, race, colour, ethnic or national origin, religion, political beliefs or membership or non-membership of a Trade Union and places an obligation upon all staff to respect and act in accordance with the policy. Harris Hill is committed to providing training for its entire staff in equal opportunities practice.

In issuing this policy, the Company has three main objectives. Firstly to encourage its employees to take an active role against all forms of harassment and discrimination, secondly to deter employees from participating in harassment or discriminatory behaviour and thirdly to demonstrate to all employees/job applicants or candidates that they can rely upon the Company's support in cases of harassment or discrimination at work or in their course of recruitment practice on behalf of its clients. The company is committed to a working environment that offers equal treatment and equal opportunities for all its employees.

Racial and Sexual Harassment

Racial or sexual harassment or any form of discrimination will not be tolerated under any circumstances and an employee who harasses or discriminates against another employee or candidate or customer of the Company, will be subjected to the Company's disciplinary procedure. In serious cases, such behaviour may constitute gross misconduct and result in summary dismissal.

Harassment generally may include any unwanted verbal or physical abuse, advances and/or behaviour that an employee may find offensive and which causes them to feel threatened, humiliated, patronised, distressed or harassed. Harassment may be deliberate or unconscious, open or covert, direct and indirect, an isolated incident or repeated action. It may also include, in certain circumstances, off duty conduct. It will not necessarily be a defence that such incidents consist of words or behaviour, which might be claimed to be "common place" or intended as a joke.

It is the duty and responsibility of the Company and every employee to stop all types of harassment and discrimination in the workplace. It is only through the efforts of individual employees that harassment and discrimination can be eradicated. All employees must all recognise that every employee in the Company has the right not to be subjected to any form of harassment or discrimination.

Racial Harassment

Racial harassment is racial discrimination and is contrary to the Company's Equal Opportunities Policy. This type of harassment will not be tolerated under any circumstances and the Company will take prompt action upon becoming aware that such incidents have taken place.

Racial harassment may include:

  • Abusive language and racist jokes
  • Racial name calling
  • The display or circulation of racially offensive written or visual material including graffiti
  • Physical threats, assault and insulting behaviour or gestures
  • Non-registration of candidates on the grounds of race
  • Non-submission of candidates on the grounds of race
  • Open hostility towards workers/candidates of a particular racial group, including organising hostility in the workplace
  • Unfair allocation of work and responsibilities
  • Exclusion from normal workplace conversation or social events i.e. being "frozen out"
  • Adhering to a third party request (client) not to submit candidates of particular race

The above examples are not exhaustive and each incident or harassment or discrimination will be viewed on its individual facts.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is defined as unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature by one employee towards another or to a candidate or client.

Examples of harassment include:

  • Insensitive jokes and/or pranks
  • Lewd comments about appearance
  • Unnecessary bodily contact
  • Displays of sexually offensive material, for example pin-ups
  • Requests for sexual favours
  • Speculation about an employee's private life and/or sexual activities
  • Threatened or actual sexual violence
  • Threat of dismissal, loss of promotion etc for refusal of sexual favours
  • Non-registration of candidates on the grounds of sex
  • Non-submission of candidates on the grounds of sex

Whilst the above list gives examples of sexual harassment, harassment takes many forms, relatively mild sexual banter to actual physical violence and the above examples are not exhaustive.

Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures in the case of Harassment and Discrimination

Where an employee or candidate feels that they are being harassed or discriminated against, prior to adopting the formal procedures set out below an informal approach may be taken.

Informal Procedure
If an individual feels they are subject to harassment and/or discrimination they should, if possible, advise the harasser that the behaviour is unwelcome, must be stopped and is interpreted as harassment and/or discrimination as defined by the Company's policy statement. If preferred, this may be in writing.

If the behaviour does not cease or the employee/candidate finds approaching the harasser difficult, further informal assistance is available. Female employees, who wish to discuss such a complaint in confidence, should contact Linda Dunn - Director of the Company. Male employees should contact either Aled Morris or James Wellesley Wesley  - Directors.

Formal Procedure
Where the informal method fails or serious harassment or discrimination occurs, employees are advised to bring a formal complaint against the harasser and should seek assistance as above in doing so. The complaint should be made in writing and where possible state the following: 

  • The name of the harasser
  • The nature of the harassment
  • The date and time when the harassment occurred
  • The names of any witnesses to the harassment
  • Details of any action already taken by the complainant to stop the harassment

The complaint should be sent to Aled Morris. Immediately a complaint of harassment is received, action will be taken to separate the harasser from the complainant/or an alternative Candidate Resourcer/Account Manager be assigned to deal with future job applications.

The Director will carry out a thorough investigation as quickly as possible, maintaining as much confidentiality as possible at all times. The complainant should be aware however, that if the complaint is to be investigated, other employees might have to be asked for witness statements.

All employees/candidates involved in the investigation are expected to respect the need for confidentiality.

Copies of witness statements will be made available to the harasser and the complainant. Witnesses will be encouraged to appear at a Hearing if requested by either party. It is acknowledged that some witnesses may be reluctant to do so. In these circumstances, the Director will, if necessary, adjourn the Hearing and ask supplementary questions of witnesses in private.

The complainant may if they wish, be supported throughout the procedures and Hearing by a colleague or other suitable person of their choice. The employee accused of harassment or discrimination will have the right to be accompanied at the Hearing in accordance with the Company's disciplinary procedures.

If the offence is proved, the severity of the penalty imposed on the harasser will be consistent with those detailed in the disciplinary procedure, i.e. gross harassment or discrimination will normally result in summary dismissal. Where a lesser penalty is appropriate, for example a written warning, this may be coupled with action to ensure that the complainant is able to continue working/continue as an active candidate without embarrassment or anxiety.

After discussion with the complainant the Director may arrange for an amendment of working practices to minimise contact between the two-employees/the candidate and the employee. The result of the Hearing will be confirmed in writing to both employees, candidate/employee.

If the complainant is not satisfied about the way their complaint has been handled they may appeal to the Director. The appeal should be made in writing within 5 working days of the first Hearing.

An employee who receives a warning or is dismissed for sexual or racial harassment or discrimination may appeal against the penalty in accordance with the appeals procedure in the Company's disciplinary procedure.

Disability Discrimination

Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, disability discrimination occurs if, for a reason which relates to the disabled person's disability an individual:

  • treats them less favourably than they treat, or would treat others to whom that reason does not or would not apply, and,
  • the employer cannot show that the treatment in question is justified.

Harris Hill will not discriminate against a disabled job applicant or employee on the grounds of disability -

  • in the arrangements i.e. application form, interview and arrangements for selection for determining to whom a job should be offered; or
  • in the terms on which employment or engagement of temporary workers is offered; or
  • by refusing to offer, or deliberately not offering the disabled person a job for reasons connected with their disability; or
  • in the opportunities afforded to the person for receiving any benefit, or by refusing to afford, or deliberately not affording him or her any such opportunity; or
  • by subjecting him or her to any other detriment (detriment will include refusal of training, transfer, demotion, reduction of wage; or harassment).

Harris Hill will accordingly make career opportunities available to all people with disabilities and every practical effort will be made to provide for the needs of staff, candidates and clients.

Wherever possible Harris Hill will make reasonable adjustments to hallways, passages and doors in order to provide and improve means of access for disabled employees and candidates. However, this may not always be feasible.

Age Discrimination

Harris Hill will encourage clients not to include any age criteria or other subjective criteria in job specifications and every attempt will be made to persuade clients to recruit on the basis of competence and skill and not age.

Harris Hill is committed to recruiting and retaining employees whose skills, experience, and attitude are appropriate to the requirements of the various positions regardless of age.

As far as is reasonably possible and in the most exceptional circumstances no age requirements will be stated in any job advertisements on behalf of the company.

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