Equality & diversity

Slough Borough Council has a long commitment to progressing the equalities agenda and our track record in delivering culturally sensitive, equitable services to an increasingly diverse community is strong. The council seeks to foster an environment in which a person has an equal entitlement to high quality services, employment and opportunities for personal development, regardless of ethnic or racial origin, religion or belief, disability, age, gender, gender reassignment, sexual orientation or family circumstance.

Slough is a culturally diverse town with many different groups and ethnicities residing side by side. Diversity in Slough is a true success story and one of many reasons we are proud of this unique town.

However, equality is much broader than race and ethnicity. It groups all the things which make us different, and can influence our opportunities in life including gender, disability, religious belief, sexual orientation, age, marriage/civil partnership, pregnancy/maternity and transgender.

Working for equality of opportunity is at the heart of Slough Borough Council. This is for both our staff and the wide range of services we provide. The council seeks to foster an environment where a person has an equal entitlement to high quality services and opportunities for personal development.

To maintain equality and diversity in Slough we have some general and some more specific policies and procedures:

Age

Unlawful age discrimination happens when someone is treated unfavourably, harassed and victimised because of their age, without justification. People of all ages (both young and old) can experience age discrimination. The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person because of their age. This includes direct and indirect: 

  • discrimination
  • harassment 
  • victimisation.

The Equality Act 2010 also removed the upper age limits on unfair dismissal and redundancy.

Disability

The Equality Act 2010 requires public bodies to: 

  • eliminate unlawful disability discrimination. The Equality Act 2010 also means the ban on direct discrimination will now apply in other areas, such as access to goods and services 
  • eliminate unlawful harassment or victimisation of disabled people
  • promote equality of opportunity for disabled people
  • take steps to take account of a persons' disabilities (make reasonable adjustments) 
  • promote positive attitudes towards disabled persons and encourage participation in public life.

To qualify for protection from discrimination, a disabled person no longer has to show that their impairment affects a particular 'capacity', such as: 

  • mobility
  • speech 
  • hearing 
  • eyesight.

There is also a new provision which makes it unlawful, except in certain circumstances, for employers to ask about a candidate's health before offering them work. The Act also includes a new form of disability discrimination: Discrimination arising from Disability. This states that it is discriminatory to treat a disabled person unfavourably because of something connected with their disability.

Gender

Unlawful sex discrimination happens when someone is treated unfairly because of their gender. Women, men and transsexual people can all experience sex discrimination. Sex discrimination also includes treating someone less favourably because they are married or in a civil partnership, for example, by not hiring married women.

The council recognises men and women will often have different needs and expectations from services, based on a range of factors including: 

  • caring responsibilities
  • different working patterns
  • social circumstances
  • access to resources.

So Slough is able to maintain its position as employer of choice and effective service provider we recognise the need to tackle sex discrimination and ensure the talents, knowledge, skills and experience of all our employees is utilised and rewarded irrespective of gender.

The council supports the principle that men and women should receive equal pay for work that is: 

  • broadly the same
  • regarded as equivalent
  • equal value.

In order to achieve equity in our payment procedure Slough will operate a pay structure, which is transparent, fair and objective. 

Gender Reassignment

The Equality Act 2010 gives protection for transsexual people. To qualify for protection from discrimination, a transsexual person no longer has to show they are under medical supervision.
It is discriminatory to treat transsexual people less favourably for being absent from work because they propose to undergo, are undergoing or have undergone gender reassignment than they would be treated if they were absent because they were ill or injured. 

Marriage/civil partnership

The Equality Act 2010 protects employees who are married or in a civil partnership against discrimination and makes it unlawful to: 

  • discriminate directly against anyone because they are married or registered as a civil partner
  • indirectly discriminate against someone because they are married or registered as a civil partner 
  • refuse to offer someone goods or services because they are married or registered as a civil partner 
  • have policies which put people at a disadvantage because they are married or registered as a civil partner 
  • victimise someone because they have made or intend to make a complaint related to the above.

Pregnancy and Maternity

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to: 

  • directly or indirectly discriminate against someone because they are pregnant or on maternity leave
  • refuse to offer someone goods or services because they are pregnant 
  • discriminate against a woman because she is breastfeeding.

Race

We recognise people from minority ethnic groups could face discrimination and prejudice. This can then severely restrict their access to appropriate services and/or employment. The council is committed to promoting community cohesion and community relations.

The Equality Act 2010 requires public bodies to:

  • eliminate unlawful discrimination and harassment
  • promote equality of opportunity
  • promote good relations between people of different racial groups.

Religion/ Belief

Religious discrimination can occur when you:

  • don't have the same religious or philosophical beliefs as someone else, or
  • have no religious beliefs.

And because of that someone treats you less favourably than somebody else who does share their religion or belief. It can also happen because of the religious or philosophical beliefs of someone you are associated with, or if someone thinks you have certain beliefs when actually you do not. The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against people because of their religion or belief (or because they have no religion).

Sexual orientation

Legal protection from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation applies to everyone, whatever their sexual orientation. The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in the provision of:

  • goods
  • facilities and services education
  • the use and disposal of premises 
  • the exercise of public functions.

Dignity at work – code of practice

The council’s dignity at work code of practice fully supports the right and opportunity of employment for all people without discrimination and for all staff to work in an environment free from harassment and bullying of any kind.

Flexible working strategy

This is the council’s guidance for managers and employees on its flexible working policy.