Equal Opportunities and Diversity Policy
References to "Group", "we" and "our" shall mean FirstGroup plc and its group companies.
1.1 The Board is committed to equality of opportunity both in the provision of services to the public and as an employer. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that all employees, customers, contractors and those who come into contact with the Group are treated equally and with fairness and consistency at all times.
1.2 This policy seeks continuous improvement and compliance with legislation. It is based on the principles that:
- a) all people have the right to be treated with dignity and respect;
- b) we will not discriminate on the grounds of race, gender, disability, nationality, religious or philosophical belief, age, sexual orientation, family status, trade union activity or any other factor;
- c) we will adopt fair and inclusive practices throughout our operations and will eliminate all prejudice, discrimination, bullying and harassment;
- d) all employees have a personal responsibility for the practical application of this policy in their day-to-day activities and must support the policy at all times; and
- e) non-compliance with this policy will be treated seriously and will not be tolerated.
1.3 The Board and the Managing Directors and Presidents of the separate business units of the Group are tasked to ensure that they:
- a) create a productive and safe working environment, promoting diversity and inclusion in their workforce;
- b) actively demonstrate the Group's diversity policy and practices;
- c) develop new practices to ensure inclusion for employees, contractors and customers; and
- d) demonstrate continuous improvement in diversity and equal opportunities for all.
2. Legislation and Codes of Practice
This policy conforms to the current international legislation and relevant codes of practice in the countries within which the Group operates. We will continually monitor this policy to ensure we are compliant with the requirements of relevant underpinning legislation; however our aim is to exceed the requirements of legislation wherever possible.
3. Partner Organisations
We are committed to actively working with partner organisations to ensure its policies, procedures and practices are inclusive for all. In the United Kingdom the Group is a member of the Employers Forum on Disability, Opportunity Now and Race For Opportunity with representatives sitting on the Executive Board and National Quality Board of the National Centre for Diversity.
We will present an annual report on our actions and achievements reflecting this Diversity policy to the Board, and report on our performance in the Group's Corporate Social Responsibility report.
Any employee who feels that he or she has grounds for complaint in relation to bullying, discrimination, harassment or victimisation has the right to pursue the complaint through the Group's grievance procedure. Customers who feel they have grounds for complaint may pursue these through the customer complaints procedure. The Group's complaints procedure must be accessible to all.
6. Practices and Standard Operating Procedures
Detailed practices and standard operating procedures which support this policy will be particular to the operation they support, and will at all times act in support of this policy.
7. Access to Company Premises
We will take all reasonable steps to ensure that our buildings and premises are accessible to disabled employees, customers and visitors as required by the Equality Act 2010 in the United Kingdom and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the United States of America.
8. Access to Vehicles
We will also take reasonable steps to ensure that our vehicles are accessible to customers and staff and comply with the relevant legislation for the country in which they operate.
9. Access to Information
We will seek to ensure that information is made available to our customers and employees in alternative formats as required.
All recruitment will be carried out with regard to fairness, equality and consistency for all candidates at all times. Recruitment practices will be inclusive and any barriers to employment removed under the relevant legislation.
11. Staff Training
Guidance and training will be provided to all staff with regard to diversity awareness and equality to ensure we are both an inclusive employer and service provider.
We are committed to ensuring that our operations comply with the requirements of this policy. We aim to ensure compliance via regular audits and reviewing of action plans with the relevant managers and directors.
13. Human Rights
The Group supports the principles of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. We will adhere to the following principles in respect of our staff:
- a) We will treat all employees fairly and honestly, regardless of where they work. All staff will have agreed terms and conditions in accordance with local law or practice and will be given appropriate job skills training.
- b) We will pay a fair wage reflecting local markets and conditions. We will always meet any national minimum wage.
- c) Working hours shall not be excessive. They shall comply with industry guidelines and national standards where they exist.
- d) Employment must be freely chosen. We will not employ illegal child labour, forced or bonded labour, forced overtime or condone illegal child labour.
- e) Employees have the rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining. We respect the right of our employees to choose whether or not to join a trade union without influence or interference from management. Furthermore we support the right of our employees to exercise that right through a secret ballot.
- f) We will negotiate in good faith with the properly elected representatives of our employees.
- g) We will abide by the non-discrimination laws in every country where we operate.
- h) We will not use or condone the use of corporal punishment, mental or physical coercion or verbal abuse. We have disciplinary procedures for any member of staff whose conduct falls below the required standard.
- i) We have formal grievance procedures through which staff can raise personal and work-related issues.
- j) All staff will be given reasonable access to bathroom and rest facilities.
14. Data Protection
We will comply with the relevant principles governing data protection in each country in which we operate.