Supporting Colleagues' Sexual Orientation - Our Tesco


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Supporting Colleagues’ Sexual Orientation

Internal, Supporting Colleagues’ Sexual Orientation, Version1, Page 1 of 5

Where to find things. Introduction .............................................................................................................................................................. 3 1.

What is meant by sexual orientation? ............................................................................................................. 3

2.

What should I be aware of? .............................................................................................................................. 3

3.

What is an inclusive workplace? ...................................................................................................................... 3

4.

What are our legal obligations? ....................................................................................................................... 3

5.

What should I be aware of if I am recruiting? .................................................................................................. 4

6.

What are my responsibilities as a manager? ................................................................................................... 4

7.

Our Colleague Network .................................................................................................................................... 5

Guide information. ................................................................................................................................................... 5 Guide owner: [email protected] ................................................................................................ 5 Ownership and confidentiality ................................................................................................................................ 5

Internal, Supporting Colleagues’ Sexual Orientation, Version1, Page 2 of 5

Introduction

General awareness

This guide gives you more information about supporting

Many of us discuss our weekend plans with our

sexual orientation, which is one of the nine protected

colleagues and for some this will be uncomfortable as

characteristics covered by the Equality Act and protected

they may not want to reveal information about their sexual

by UK Law.

orientation or details about their partner.

The aim of this guide is to support

You should

colleagues and managers when dealing with any issues

think about the choice of language you use when you

that may arise.

don’t know someone’s sexual orientation, for example by

1.

What is meant by sexual orientation?

Sexual orientation is about a person’s identity and not about sexual activity. and

Therefore gay, lesbian, bisexual

straight/heterosexual

all

are

protected

sexual

orientations.

2.

using ‘partner’ rather than assuming they have a ‘husband, boyfriend, ‘wife or girlfriend’. It’s totally unacceptable to ‘out’ (reveal someone’s sexual orientation) a colleague, one of their friends or family members without their permission either in the workplace or outside of it, including in the use of social media. This

What should I be aware of?

It’s important to remember that while some colleagues will be ‘open’ and happy to talk about their sexual orientation, others will want to keep it private and it’s important that we respect that.

would also apply even if the person was open with you about their sexual orientation.

3.

What is an inclusive workplace?

An inclusive workplace is one where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. Where the talents and skills of

We all have a responsibility to maintain an inclusive workplace which allows colleagues, regardless of their sexual orientation, to feel that they are respected and valued as individuals. We should always work towards ensuring that everyone is treated with dignity and respect and promote a culture that recognises there is value in working in a diverse environment.

different people are the thing that’s most valued and where

productivity

and

customer

service

improve

because the team is happier, more motivated and more aware of the benefits that inclusion can bring. In inclusive companies individuals who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and heterosexual are all able to be themselves without fear of discrimination or recrimination. Everyone should

feel

comfortable

about

participating

in

conversations about family and friends, what they did at

Having a diverse team means we have different people with different preferences, which everyone is entitled to have. However there are groups within our society who have differing views, and whilst this may be their opinion outside of work, they must not let it impact their ability to do their job, affect their working relationships or influence their decisions in any way.

the weekend without the fear of unwanted jokes or comments being made.

4.

What are our legal obligations?

We have a legal obligation under the Equality Act 2010 to make sure our working environment is free from any form of discrimination or harassment including those on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Any form of discrimination or harassment will not be tolerated.

This form of behaviour is considered to be

Any cases of discrimination can end up in an employment

gross misconduct and may result in disciplinary action

tribunal and cause serious damage to our business and

being taken against you; up to and including dismissal.

its reputation. We are committed to promoting a culture of equality across the business and ensuring that our business and its policies and processes don’t discriminate against any individual or group of employees.

Internal, Supporting Colleagues’ Sexual Orientation, Version1, Page 3 of 5

If a colleague confides in you about their sexual

Also remember that most social media sites allow you to

orientation then you need to listen to them and then ask if

see who has viewed your profile so a potential candidate

there’s anything they would like you to do with the

may know that you’ve viewed their profile.

information. It’s unacceptable for you to tell other people

about a candidate’s sexual orientation should never be

without their permission.

asked during the interview/assessment process.

Likewise you should not

Questions If the

‘speculate’ about a colleagues sexual orientation with

information is volunteered, you shouldn’t question this

other colleagues or assume that they are or aren’t gay,

any further, use it to evaluate the candidates or make

lesbian, bisexual or straight/heterosexual because of the

your final decision.

things they do or say, their mannerism or the way they dress. Discrimination because of sexual orientation can relate to someone’s perceived sexual orientation, not just

6.

What are my responsibilities as a manager?

their actual sexual orientation. For more information see the Equal Opportunities and Diversity policy.

Your responsibility is to ensure that all of our colleagues are treated fairly when it comes to accessing training and

5.

What should I be aware of if I am recruiting?

development, employment procedures and benefits, workplace events and activities and their day to day interactions with colleagues and customers.

The right to be treated equally begins as soon as a prospective colleague reads a job advert or accesses our online job search. All candidates are screened on their

For some colleagues telling their manager about their

relevant experience and the skills they can bring to the

sexual orientation would be very difficult as it is a private

role.

and personal matter which they may feel uncomfortable discussing and it’s important that you handle the

As part of the recruitment process we ask all candidates

conversation in a sensitive and sympathetic manner.

to complete an equal opportunities monitoring form. This information is kept for monitoring purposes only and is

If you hear comments or see any behaviour which you

stored separately from your application. This information

think is discriminatory or amounts to bullying or

won’t be seen by or shared with the hiring manager.

harassment you should deal with it in an appropriate manner. This type of behaviour will not be tolerated and

To help protect us against any claims of discrimination

is considered to be gross misconduct and if you fail to

notes from all interviews/assessments should be kept for

deal with it, then disciplinary action may also be taken

at least 12 months at which point they can be destroyed

against you.

confidentially. Sometimes certain behaviour can also be perceived as If you are going to view someone’s social media profile as

homophobic and again this should be dealt with in an

part of the screening process you should tell the

appropriate manner.

candidate first and give them the opportunity to update their profile in advance. You should also make sure that

Work events

you view all profiles (or everyone that has one) not just a select few to make sure that everyone is treated fairly. By

If you’re arranging a work event, make sure it’s

viewing someone’s profile you may discover someone’s

appropriate for all colleagues, talk about your plans and

sexual orientation or make an assumption about it,

what type of event might be appropriate for everyone.

sometimes unconsciously.

This way you can make sure your plans suit everyone

You should remember that

someone’s sexual orientation is confidential to them and

concerned and that you’re not excluding anyone.

should not be discussed or speculated about with anyone else. Remember not to let what you see unconsciously influence your decision.

Internal, Supporting Colleagues’ Sexual Orientation, Version1, Page 4 of 5

Banter We want to highlight to colleagues that they ‘have a place Banter is often light hearted with no offence intended, but

to

go’. We

offer

networking,

support,

mentoring,

what can be funny to some may be offensive to others. If

development and social activities. We also want to

you feel the banter within your team is inappropriate

highlight to our non LGBTI colleagues that ‘we are here’

speak to the individuals concerned and ask them to stop

demonstrating that everyone is welcome at Tesco. You

making the comments, and if necessary speak to your

don’t have to have to identify yourself as LGBTI to join.

People Manager/Partner for advice about how to deal with the issue. If a complaint has been raised you must

You can find out more information about Out at Tesco

speak to your People Manager/Partner about how to deal

and register at www.outattesco.com or get in touch

with this.

[email protected]

Any homophobic references need to be dealt with, even if

Related Reading

it wasn’t intended to be offensive, for example, someone describing something as ‘gay’ because they don’t like it.

Disciplinary Policy Equal Opportunities and Diversity Policy

Consideration also needs to be taken as many colleagues

Grievance Policy

may have friends or family members who are lesbian, gay

Supporting Disabled Colleagues

or bisexual, and they could find some forms of banter

Supporting Colleagues’ – Age, Race, Sex and Marriage

offensive.

and Civil Partnership Supporting Trans Colleagues

7.

Our Colleague Network

Supporting Colleagues’ Religion and Belief Northern Ireland Equality Statement

The purpose of our Out at Tesco network is to encourage people to ‘be themselves’ at work and not worry about hiding anything, which can make us all work more productively.

Guide information. Version No.

Date of change

Summary of change

1

8 February 2016

Updated Guide

Guide owner: [email protected] Ownership and confidentiality This document shouldn’t be shared with anyone externally without permission from your Director. This policy and any associated documentation remains the property of Tesco and should be returned if requested.

Internal, Supporting Colleagues’ Sexual Orientation, Version1, Page 5 of 5