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Equal opportunities policies

How to develop an equal opportunities policy for your organisation.

An employer should have an up-to-date equal opportunities policy which is readily available, consistently enforced, regularly reviewed and made known to managers, supervisors, employees and job applicant.

Why have an equal opportunities policy?

An equal opportunities policy will:

  • make the best use of the whole workforce;
  • avoid unlawful discrimination;
  • improve recruitment and retention; and
  • take action against those who infringe equal opportunities principles.

Key elements of an equal opportunities policy

An equal opportunities policy should:

  • make clear your organisation's commitment to equal opportunities, non-discriminatory procedures and practices
  • list all the forms of discrimination covered by the policy, ie age, gender, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability or pay rate
  • state that the policy will cover all current legislation
  • oblige all employees to respect and act in accordance with the policy
  • mention equality of opportunity for all job applicants and employees
  • make clear that any bullying or harassment is totally unacceptable
  • explain the procedure for dealing with complaints and the link to the grievance procedure
  • include the title of the manager or director who has overall responsibility for the policy
  • be regularly updated and communicated
  • be used in training sessions for all employees, volunteers and trustees.

Source: Published with permission from Cass Centre for Charity Effectiveness. This material is taken from Tools for Success: doing the right things and doing them right", published in October 2008. Download or buy your copy from Cass Centre for Charity Effectiveness.

Sample policies

It can be hard to write a policy from scratch. There are a number of websites which contain sample policies you can download.  These are intended as guidance only.

Acas, CIPD also provide guidance.


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