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Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (“EDI”)

This policy sets out our approach to equity, diversity, and inclusion and what we will do to create a safe and inclusive organization that learns and grows to proactively dismantle barriers, eliminate discrimination, and create opportunity and equity for our People and those we serve.

Introduction

Distinct is committed to ensuring an inclusive environment, where People can be their genuine selves in accordance with our values. We are dedicated to taking proactive steps to advance a culture of non-discrimination and equity.

We want to live our values in our everyday working relationships, practices and behaviors. These are as follows:

  • Do the right thing
  • To dare is to do
  • No egos
  • In it together
  • Go home proud

We know that it is only through advancing equity and embracing diversity and inclusion that we can truly embody our organizational values. This policy ensures we benefit from a variety of perspectives and better reflect the communities we serve. It is supported by our EDI objectives which set out how the policy is applied operationally.

Protected Characteristics

People are legally protected from discrimination in the US by the Civil Rights Act, Family & Medical Leave Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, among many others. It is against the law to discriminate against someone because of the following protected characteristics: age; disability; gender reassignment; marital or civil partnership status; pregnancy and maternity; race including racial group, ethnic or national origin, or nationality; religion or belief; sex; sexual orientation. 

Scope

This policy applies to:

  • all elements and stages of our work and to all stages of the provision of our services and income generation. At each stage, the rights, expectations, and obligations set out in this policy apply equally.
  • anyone working for us. This includes all our staff, workers, contractors, volunteers, interns, and apprentices. The policy also relates to job applicants.
  • all of our work in the UK, the US and internationally, and our relationships with third party providers, partners and stakeholders.

Our Commitments

Distinct commits to: 

  • Treating everyone with dignity, fairness and respect. We recognize individual uniqueness and identity regardless of any protected characteristic, combination of protected characteristics, or any other characteristic(s), socio-economic or demographic factors and/or cultural traits that may expose them to unfair disadvantage.
  • Challenging all forms of unequal, offensive and unlawful treatment.
  • Recognizing that certain People are more disadvantaged and address their individual needs to overcome disadvantage and discrimination and ensure equity. This includes acknowledging the additional challenges that may be faced by our People and working to support these individuals and acting equitably to protect their security and safety.
  • Having the leadership, effective management practices and resources in place so that everyone understands the barriers to EDI and the consequences of discrimination.
  • Developing a culture which attracts and retains People from the widest possible range of backgrounds and experiences into all levels of the organization and create a positive experience for all.
  • Designing and providing services that meet the needs of diverse communities, which are accessible to all.
  • Amplifying, valuing and acting upon the voice of lived experience.

In upholding these commitments, we will seek to:  

-Oppose and avoid all forms of unlawful discrimination, including:

  • Pay and benefits
  • Terms and conditions of employment
  • Dealing with grievances and discipline
  • Dismissal
  • Redundancy
  • Leave for parents
  • Requests for accommodations
  • Selection for employment, promotion, training or other developmental opportunities

-Promote equity, dignity, fairness, inclusion and respect for all those who work for and have dealings with our organization.

-Create a working environment free of bullying, harassment, victimization and unlawful discrimination.

-Take seriously bona fide complaints of bullying, harassment, victimization and unlawful discrimination by fellow employees, customers, suppliers, visitors, the public and any others in the course of the organization’s work activities. 

-Consult and engage with our People to enhance our understanding of the needs of, and obstacles faced by, those from marginalized groups.

-Ensure that our recruitment, selection, development, and progression processes are transparent, merit based, fair and accessible to all and remove barriers to progression and proactively widen diversity across senior leadership.

-Make jobs at all levels accessible and make reasonable adjustments to accommodate the needs of our People.

-Ensure transparency in decisions, equality in pay, benefits, and job evaluations, and take steps to ensure any disparity in terms and conditions is eliminated. Review employment practices and procedures when necessary to ensure fairness, and also update them and the policy to take account of changes in the law.

-Make opportunities for training, development and progress available to all staff, who will be helped and encouraged to develop their full potential, so their talents and resources can be fully utilized to maximize the efficiency of the organization.

-Work to raise awareness of, and provide support for, health, safety, and wellbeing issues.

-Monitor the make-up of our workforce in encouraging equity, diversity and inclusion, and in meeting the aims and commitments set out in this policy. Monitoring will also include assessing how this policy, and any supporting action plan, are working in practice, reviewing them, and considering and taking action to address any issues.

Responsibilities and Engagement

This policy is fully supported by senior management. The Board of Directors have ultimate responsibility for the policy and are responsible for championing EDI. 

Monitoring and Compliance

We will collect and monitor diversity-related data to better understand the experiences of our People and identify and remove barriers, ensure our policy and strategies are working effectively and set EDI targets.

Any breach of this policy by our People will be investigated.

Policy Review 

The EDI policy was updated in February 2024. 

APPENDIX A: KEY DEFINITIONS

Definitions

Equality, equity, diversity, and inclusion

Equality: the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities.

Equity: refers to fairness and justice and recognising that we do not all start from the same place and must acknowledge and make adjustments to imbalances.

Diversity: the existence of variations of different characteristics in a group of People. These characteristics could be everything that makes us unique, such as our cognitive skills and personality traits, along with the things that shape our identity (e.g. race, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, cultural background).

Inclusion: actively embracing People with diverse perspectives, backgrounds. and experiences.

Unlawful discrimination

When a person or group of People is treated less favorably than another person or group of People would be treated based on their protected characteristic.

People

Our People include employees (whether part time, full time, fixed term or permanent); casual workers, agency workers, contractors, delegates on secondment, volunteers, interns, apprentices and job applicants.

Changes to this policy may be made at any time with or without notice.