We have been asked by an organisation called Supply London, which helps smaller companies sell into the public sector, to supply an Equal Opportunities Policy in order to gain access to (apparently) lucrative public sector contracts. We don't currently have a written Equal Ops policy, so they have kindly sent us a template and (literally) said just to put our company name in the gaps. Regular readers of this blog will know about my thoughts on using generic, boilerplate, waffly "policies", so it will be no surprise that I have one or two problems with the template they provided. Here it is (with my annotations):
Company XYZ Ltd
Equal Opportunities Policy
Company XYZ was established in xxxx to provide xxxxxxxx to the xxxxx industry. We are based in xxxxxxx and employ xxxxx people.
We ensure that we are aware of and comply with legislation including the Equal Pay Act 1970, The Race Relations Act 1976 and Amendment 2000, Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Sex Discrimination Act 1975.
We aim to encourage, value and manage diversity in all areas of our business and to be an equal opportunities employer. We are committed to providing equality for all [well, no, we aren’t. For example, some of our handymen earn more than others, because they work harder and/or more efficiently. I earn more than James, our newest hire in the office. There was a social experiment launched in St Petersburg in 1917 which committed to provide equality for all, but it didn’t really work that well] and to this end we make real efforts to attain [sic] a workforce that is representative of the local community [kind of saying the same thing as the first sentence] by ensuring that we use as wide a selection of advertising mediums [sic: media] as possible [No: we don’t use a wide selection of media, we only recruit people who have applied on our website, because we only want people who are resourceful enough to find out about us; we don’t want to field applicants who are trawling through the paper looking for any old job] and by monitoring the ethnicity of job applicants. [we don’t monitor ethnicity because I think it is intrusive, and largely irrelevant; I never answer those questions myself]
We do not accept discrimination on the grounds of gender, sex, marital status or gender re-assignment [strange that gender re-assignment, which is a very rare circumstance, is here, but not race or sexual orientation. Although we wouldn’t discriminate against any of these]. Nor will we tolerate discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnic origin, colour, nationality, national origin, religion or belief [We would most certainly tolerate discrimination on grounds of belief: if someone really, honestly, believed that they had been sent by God to murder people with pliers, we probably would not employ them. Ditto if they honestly and persistently believed that black was live and red was neutral], age or disability [slightly tricky one, ‘disability’. From a recruitment point of view, we are inevitably going to discriminate against someone who does not have the ability to perform the job. From a customer service point of view, not an issue at all].
We will not tolerate victimisation, discrimination or harassment in any form [ludicrous to "not tolerate discrimination in any form”. If we did not discriminate between applicants / employees, we would hire everyone, and reprimand no-one. And we discriminate, for example, against customers that don’t pay their bills. And what if a customer chose not to use us because they thought we were too expensive, would we “not tolerate” that??] and we make it clear that if any instances will be investigated and is deemed to be a disciplinary offence which could result in dismissal. [grammar here is so poor, I am not quite sure what this clause means]
We believe that everyone should be treated fairly and on their own merit and ability [Yes! This should be at the start of the policy. Stress the positive, not the negative.]. This policy is the ethos of our selection and recruitment procedure and applies to promotion and training and to discipline and dismissal. We provide training for managers and supervisors in interviewing, selection, promotion and recruitment ensuring that they understand the legislation and our policy.
We work with our clients and suppliers to ensure that they understand our ethos and we make it clear that fair treatment for all is expected and should be maintained.
This policy is posted on the Company Notice Board [don’t have a Company Notice Board, not really our style] and is also available in the staff handbook. All new employees are asked to read this policy during induction.
The Managing Director is responsible for this policy and its implementation and for investigating any instances of discrimination.
The more I read this, the more shocked I am at how shoddily drafted this document is. Clearly anyone using this template as their "policy" can't have read it properly and probably doesn't give a monkey's about the important issues it is really trying to address. I am sure I can draft a better version, which I will post shortly, and which I will submit to Supply London in lieu of this weak and counter-productive effort.