Appendix 5 Briefing on UK diversity legislation

Promoting equality and diversity

Equality and diversity is a key strategic priority of the School and is enshrined in the School’s Strategic Plan. As a public body, the School has to comply with the current equality and diversity legislation, that is, the Equality Act 2010, though, it should be added, that the School sees equality and diversity as integral to all its functions and therefore, works beyond the requirements of legal compliance.

Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 introduces a general public sector duty which requires all public bodies, like LSE, in the exercise of its functions to have due regard to the need to:

  • eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under this Act;
  • advance equality of opportunity between persons who share relevant protected characteristics and persons who do not share it;
  • foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.

The duty applies to the protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex/gender and sexual orientation.

The School’s equality objectives for 2010 to 2014 are set out in its Single Equality Scheme, demonstrating its commitment to all equality areas, as defined by the Act. By January 2014, a new Single Equality Scheme will be in place.

 In practice the new law will expect tutors to:

  • actively oppose all forms of discrimination,
  • treat all students fairly and with respect,
  • pay attention and respond to needs and interests of students from diverse groups,
  • reflect on prejudices, including examining the use of inappropriate language and behaviours,
  • strive to create an environment in which student goals may be pursued without fear or intimidation,
  • not victimize any student who has complained, or who has given information in connection with such a complaint,
  • challenge and/or report unacceptable behaviour which is contrary to the equality legislations and principles,
  • foster an inclusive environment for all students to access opportunities and participate fully in the learning process,
  • equip students with the skills, concepts and values which enable them to challenge inequality and injustice in their future work,
  • ensure that learning or any other materials do not discriminate against any individuals or groups,
  • ensure that learning resources are equally accessible by all students.

For further advice please contact the School's Equality and Diversity website (lse.ac.uk/equalityanddiversity) or write to Equality.and.Diversity@lse.ac.uk|.  

Bullying and harassment

Equality legislation also treats bullying and harassment as unlawful. Bullying is the offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, and an abuse or misuse of power, to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure someone. Harassment is the unwanted conduct affecting the dignity of individuals. Bullying and harassment may not necessarily be face to face. These also apply to written communications, email (so called 'flamemail'), phone, social networks etc.

To address bullying and harassment, tutors are required to:

  • treat all students with dignity and respect,
  • avoid insulting remarks or innuendos, or deliberate exclusion from activities on the grounds of age, sex, race, religion, etc.,
  • avoid objectionable and questionable acts which can ridicule or demean someone,
  • avoid unfair treatment based on racist or sexist assumptions,
  • avoid overbearing supervision or other misuse of power or position, or unwelcome sexual advances.

For further advice, students can contact Kevin Haynes on +44 (0)20 7955 7823, or email k.j.haynes@lse.ac.uk|; staff can contact their department's designated HR Partner. For general queries please contact the School's Equality and Diversity team Equality.and.Diversity@lse.ac.uk|

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