The FAQs listed below cover common queries that staff and students may have regarding equality and diversity and related issues. Please note that these are not exhaustive and we will add to them over time but, as a general rule, if you're in doubt/need advice or support, please contact the Equality and Diversity team. We may not have all the answers for you but we will be able to signpost you to appropriate resources.
What is covered under the current equality legislation?
The current equality legislation - the Equality Act 2010 - covers nine different protected characteristics. These include age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation. For more information on the Equality Act 2010, please see resources on the Equality Challenge Unit website.
What is meant by a 'protected characteristic' and who could be included in it?
Protected characteristics are the grounds on which discrimination is unlawful. Everybody has one or more protected characteristics. For instance, race includes a range of ethnic groups, such as Asian or Asian British, Black or Black British, Chinese, Mixed White/Asian/Black African/Caribbean or Other Asian/Black/Ethnic/Mixed/Other and White British/Irish/Welsh/Other. Age covers all age groups. Sexual orientation includes heterosexual, lesbian, gay and bisexual people. Religion and belief includes religions and philosophical beliefs, including lack of belief (e.g. atheism). Disability includes not just physical disability but also a range of learning disabilities.
For legal definitions of the nine protected characteristic, please see the Equality and Human Rights Commission's website
What is ‘discrimination’?
Discrimination is defined as treating somebody less favourably because of a protected characteristic. Discrimination can be direct or indirect.
Direct discrimination refers to discrimination because of a person's protected characteristic and indirect discrimination occurs when a provision, criteria or practice is applied that creates disproportionate disadvantage for a person with a protected characteristic as compared to those who do not share that characteristic.
What is LSE’s duty under equality and diversity legislation?
LSE, as a public body, has to comply with the Equality Act 2010. The Act places the public sector equality duty (PSED) on the School. Under this duty, the School has to demonstrate due regard to the need to –
Eliminate unlawful discrimination and harassment
Foster good relations
Advance equality of opportunity
To provide a few examples, to comply with the aims of the public sector equality duty, the School has to adopt a variety of measures to ensure that its policies and procedures are not discriminatory; staff and students are not engaging in behaviour that may be deemed to be discrimination, harassment or victimisation; there is good interaction and harmony among the diverse staff and student groups and so on.
How can I ensure that policies, procedures and practices are not discriminatory?
This can be ensured by: a) reviewing policies, procedures and practices from time to time in terms of any equality impact (which includes active involvement of equality groups such as disabled, gender, race etc); and b) proactively anticipating the impact on any equality group whenever a new policy, procedure or practice is being developed or introduced.
A method of ensuring the above is to conduct an equality analysis (previously known as equality impact assessment). For advice on equality analysis, please contact the Equality and Diversity team.
How can I ensure that I and my staff have the skills to deal with equality and diversity issues?
Various equality and diversity training courses are available to all staff to give them an understanding of equality and diversity, such as Equality and Inclusion for Managers and Non-managers, Fair Treatment and Respect and the online equality and diversity course. To book a place on one of these courses, please go to the Training and Development System.
If you want to organise training for your team on a particular issues, please contact the Equality and Diversity team for advice.
Who do I contact for advice on making reasonable adjustments for disabled students or staff?
For reasonable adjustments for students, please contact the Disability and Well-being Service.
For reasonable adjustments for staff, please contact the Equality and Diversity team who will be able to signpost you to appropriate resources.
Who should I contact if I want to raise a bullying or harassment issue?
If it is an issue related to a student, then please contact Kevin Haynes, Head of Legal team (firstname.lastname@example.org, 020 7955 7823). The student may also wish to take advice from their Academic Adviser, Deans, Students’ Union Community and Welfare Officer or Warden (if an issue takes place in the Halls of Residence). Please see the Support and advice for students webpage.
If it is an issue related to staff, you can speak to your line manager, HR Partner or a trade union representative. You can also contact the Equality and Diversity team. Please see the Support and advice for staff webpage.
You may also wish to see the School’s harassment policy [PDF].
How do I make a request for flexible working/How can I accommodate staff request for flexible working?
The School aims to support staff in achieving work/life balance. Staff wishing to discuss changes to working patterns should discuss this issue first with their line manager. It is the manager's responsibility to discuss their request taking account of operational considerations. More information on family friendly policies is available from Human Resources website.
What do I do if I have a mental health issue/What should I do if I am concerned or have been approached about a staff member’s mental health?
If you have a mental health issue, there are a few people you can talk to. The School offers free and confidential Staff Counselling. You can approach your line manager or your HR Partner if you’re comfortable doing so. You can also approach the Equality and Diversity team.
Similarly, if you are concerned about a staff member’s mental health or manage someone who has disclosed mental health issues to you and you would like advice on what to do, you can speak to your HR Partner or the Equality and Diversity team.
Please see the Support and advice for staff webpage for more information.
Can I claim childcare expenses when on conferences or fieldwork?
Where the funder allows childcare costs to be covered by the grant, the costs may be claimed by the employee with support from the School. However, the employee will be liable for the taxation on the benefit in kind and the School will inform HMRC of the details in the annual P11D return. Claims can also be made against Staff Research Funds and these will also be disclosed to HMRC in the annual P11D return. Please contact Kerry Fyffe (email@example.com), Research Accountant, for further information.
Who do I need to contact if someone is sexually assaulted?
If you come across an issue related to sexual assault, then please contact Security. If it’s an emergency, please call 020 7955 6555 (internally, dial x666).
I want to raise an equality and diversity issue not mentioned here. Who should I contact?
There are various options, please see our Support and advice for students and Support and advice for staff webpages. If in doubt, you can always contact the Equality and Diversity team who will be able to signpost you to appropriate resources/people.