Equal Opportunities

Equal Opportunities Statement

The Courtauld Institute of Art confirms its commitment to the elimination of all forms of discrimination and to provide an environment where individuals are treated fairly, with respect and dignity.

This commitment is demonstrated through active promotion of the Institute’s equal opportunities policy.  The aim of the policy is to ensure that no employee, job applicant, student, volunteer, or visitor receives less favourable treatment because of age, colour, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, nationality, national or ethnic origin, parental or caring responsibilities, politics, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief (including lack of belief), sex, social orientation, or trade union membership.

The Institute expects all individuals to recognise their responsibilities under this policy and act in accordance with it.

Equal Opportunities Policy


The purpose of this policy is to ensure that there is no discrimination against any person because of a protected characteristic of the Equality Act 2010: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief (including lack of belief), sex, sexual orientation, or because of parental or caring responsibilities, or trade union membership.


Scope and Responsibility

This policy applies to all permanent and temporary employees working under a contract of employment, students, self-employed people with a contract for services within the Institute, volunteers or contract/agency workers.
All individuals referred to within this policy are required to adhere to its terms and conditions.

All managers are responsible for ensuring that the policy and procedure is applied in their area.
The HR Manager is responsible for the maintenance, review and updating of this policy in event of any changes to legislation, ensuring proper consultation with staff and locally recognised trade union representatives.



  • There will be no discrimination against any person because of a protected characteristic involving job applicants, employees, students, volunteers, self-employed people with a contract for services with the Institute or contract/agency workers.
  • The Institute will appoint, develop, train and promote on the basis of merit and ability.
  • All individuals referred to in this policy have personal responsibility for the practical application of the Institute’s equal opportunities policy.
  • The Institute will always try to avoid redundancy situations.  However when such a situation arises, as a result of changing organisational requirements, selection for any redundancy will be based on purely objective criteria to ensure that there is neither direct nor indirect discrimination in this procedure.
  • Special responsibility for the practical application of the Institute’s equal opportunities policy falls upon managers and supervisors involved in the recruitment, selection, promotion, training and day-to-day management of all persons referred to in this policy.  These special responsibilities may give rise to training needs for which provision will be made, either through the appraisal procedure or by training needs analysis.
  • The Institute’s grievance policy is available to any employee who believes that he or she may have been unfairly discriminated against.
  • A student who claims to have been unfairly discriminated against will be entitled to pursue a complaint in accordance with the appropriate code set out in the Student Regulations.
  • Disciplinary action will be taken against any employee or student who is found to have committed an act of discrimination.  Serious breaches of the policy will be treated as gross misconduct, as will harassment on any grounds.
  • In the case of any doubt or concern about the application of the policy in any particular instance, an employee should consult their manager or the HR Manager.



This policy is a commitment to make full use of the talents and resources of all our employees, and to provide a healthy environment, which will encourage good and productive working relations within the Institute.  The operating code below describes how the policy is to be applied throughout the Institute.

The Institute is particularly concerned to achieve the following objectives:

  • All recruitment, promotion, opportunities for training and access to facilities and benefits will be without regard to any of the protected characteristics.
  • No employee or student will be disciplined or dismissed or suffer any harm or damage because of a protected characteristic.
  • The equal opportunities policy will be put on the intranet and communicated to all employees through induction and other appropriate communication channels.
  • Managers and supervisors will be thoroughly trained in the principles of equal opportunities, apply the principles consistently and deal with any breaches of the policy promptly and thoroughly.
  • No employee or student who, in good faith, raises a complaint that the equal opportunities policy has been breached will be victimised.
  • The policy will be regularly monitored to ensure that the principles of equal opportunities are being observed throughout the Institute.

Defining Discrimination

For the avoidance of doubt, the following definitions apply within this operational code:

  • Direct discrimination
    Direct discrimination is where a person is treated less favourably than another person because of a protected characteristic they have or are thought to have (see perception discrimination below), or because they associate with someone who has a protected characteristic.  Example: only male job applicants are shortlisted for an interview because it is assumed that a woman will not fit into the department.
  • Perception discrimination
    This is considered to be direct discrimination where a person is treated less favourably than another person because it is thought that they possess a particular protected characteristic.  It applies even if the person does not actually possess that characteristic eg a wellbeing officer refuses to work with a student because they believe the student to be gay, irrespective of whether the student is gay or not.
  • Discrimination by association
    This is where a person is treated less favourably than another person because they associate with another person who possesses a protected characteristic eg a student, whose child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is refused access to the graduation ceremony because of fears about the child’s behaviour.
  • Indirect discrimination
    Indirect discrimination is where a person is treated less favourably than another person because of a condition, rule, policy or even a practice that applies to everyone and appears to be neutral but its impact particularly disadvantages people who share a protected characteristic eg a requirement for regular late evening work may indirectly discriminate against women who are more likely to be primary carers of children.  This can be justified if the Institute can show that it acted reasonably and it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
  • Harassment
    Harassment is unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual.  Harassment applies to all protected characteristics except for pregnancy and maternity and marriage and civil partnership.  Individuals are protected from harassment if they are perceived to have, or associate with someone with, a protected characteristic.  Example: A is disabled and claims harassment against her line manager after he frequently teased and humiliated her about her disability.  B shares an office with A and he too is claiming harassment, even though he is not disabled, as the manager’s behaviour has created an offensive environment for him also.
  • Third party harassment
    This is where the Institute could be held liable for harassment of an employee by third parties who are not employees of the Institute, such as customers or clients: eg, an employee has been harassed on at least two previous occasions and has made the Institute aware of the treatment and the Institute does not taken reasonable steps to prevent it from happening again.
  • Victimisation
    This is when a person is treated less favourably than another person because they have made or supported a complaint or have asserted their rights under this or any other policy (this covers both those bringing complaints or those acting as a witness in any investigation of a complaint).


The Protected Characteristics

  • Age
    In accordance with this policy, the Institute will not unfairly discriminate on the grounds of age in any of its policies and procedures. The default retirement age of 65 remains until April 2011, and it will then be removed in line with employment legislation.
  • Disability
    The Institute is proactively committed to equality of opportunity for disabled individuals in all of its policies and procedures, and does not discriminate against any person because of their disability  Under the Equality Act 2010, a person is disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
  • Gender reassignment
    The Institute does not discriminate against or treat a transsexual person less favourably to any other person.
  • Marriage and civil partnership
    The Institute does not discriminate against or treat a person less favourably because they are married or in a civil partnership.
  • Pregnancy and maternity
    The Institute does not discriminate against or treat any woman less favourably on the grounds of pregnancy and maternity.
  • Race
    The Institute is actively committed to promoting equality of opportunity on the grounds of race.  It will work to eliminate discrimination on the grounds of race and to promote good relations between individuals of different racial groups.  Race for this purpose includes colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins.
  • Religion or Belief
    All staff, regardless of their religion, religious or philosophical belief, or lack of religion and/or belief, are required to work in accordance with their contract.  However, the Institute will consider carefully requests from members of staff who require flexibility arising from their religious or cultural obligations and beliefs.  The Institute will give appropriate consideration to requests from members of staff for extended, special or unpaid leave, timing of annual leave, changes in hours of working, in light of the business needs of the Institute.
  • Sex
    The Institute does not discriminate against or treat an individual less favourably because of their sex.
  • Sexual orientation
    The Institute does not discriminate against or treat an individual less favourably because of their sexual orientation.

Admission and Treatment of Students

The Institute is committed to an objective, transparent, and fair admissions procedure and proactively works to ensure that no student is discriminated against or treated less favourably than any other student.



  • All jobs are made open to all applicants.
  • No assumptions or pre-judgements are made by managers or recruiters about suitability for a particular job, e.g. preferences of co-workers, customers, or suppliers must not be pre-supposed.
  • No decision is made, or preference stated, in advance, regarding the type of person preferred at the start of the recruitment process, e.g. making the post open to men only except in cases of Genuine Occupational Qualification.
  • All applications are given equal consideration.



Job description and person specification

The duties of a job and the requirements of the person to perform it shall be identified before recruitment begins. The job shall be designed to fulfill the needs intended and the educational qualifications, knowledge, experience, and skills and abilities shall be those that are essential for the effective performance of the job. These shall be reviewed regularly to ensure they remain valid.


Attracting Applicants

  • Job titles and job content are presented without bias, and relate only to the requirements of the job.
  • Jobs are described in such a way that no qualified person is deterred from applying.
  • There is nothing, in either words or illustrations, to indicate any role stereotyping.
  • Vacancies are advertised in as wide a variety of ways as is reasonably practicable, taking account of resources available, with the aim of informing different groups about work opportunities at the Institute.
  • Copies of the Institute’s written equal opportunities policy are given to any recruitment and advertising agencies that are involved in any recruitment process.
  • Where under-representation has been identified, advertisements may encourage applicants from the under-represented group while making it clear that the eventual selection will be solely on the basis of suitability for the job.


Application Forms

  • All questions on the application form are relevant and non-discriminatory.
  • Application forms include only those questions that are essential at this stage.
  • Alternative methods of application may be used where the completion of an application form would require a higher standard of English or comprehension than is necessary for the performance of the job (eg the interviewer can record the information); people with disabilities may also be assisted in this way.


Interviewing and Selection

  • Interviewers and those making selection decisions shall be aware of their responsibilities under the relevant legislation and the Institute’s Equal Opportunities Policy and, where necessary, be provided with any necessary training.
  • All employees involved in the selection and recruitment process will take an unbiased approach.
  • Shortlisting and interviewing shall normally be the responsibility of more than one person to help ensure that each candidate receives impartial consideration and generalised assumptions, which may lead to discrimination, are avoided.
  • All questions asked relate purely to the competencies required for the job.
  • No questions are asked or assumptions made about a person’s personal or domestic circumstances.
  • All selection criteria must be strictly related to the objective competencies for the job.
  • Any shift-working or job mobility requirements must be absolutely essential and are objectively justified.
  • All requirements for educational and professional qualifications must be valid and job-related.
  • Due recognition is given to experience as a substitute for formal qualifications where possible.
  • All previous experience is taken into account including voluntary work, work within the home and family responsibilities.
  • Selection tests must be free of bias and non-discriminatory in content, administration and scoring.
  • Each selection decision is monitored to ensure this policy has been observed.


Training and Development

The Institute will ensure that there is equal opportunity for all employees in respect of access to relevant training for their job and for career development.  All employees responsible for carrying out performance appraisals will be trained and advised to ensure that assessment criteria are objective, relevant and not discriminatory to any person or groups of people.  The following list provides some examples of how the policy should be processed:

  • All training and development reflects the principles of the equal opportunities policy.
  • Selection to attend courses is free from bias.
  • Courses, materials and validation processes are free from bias.
  • Each promotion and transfer opportunity decision is monitored to ensure this policy has been observed.
  • All new employees will have a period of induction, to be overseen by the responsible line manager.
  • All employees will have regular meetings with their line manager. The purpose of such meetings is to ensure that employees are working to their job descriptions, in the best interests of clients and the Institute and to offer support and identify training needs, enabling them to perform to the best of their ability.
  • All employees are subject to an agreed annual appraisal procedure, to be carried out by their line manager. The purpose of this is to focus upon the employee’s performance in their job, to identify goals for career development and to identify training needs, to help meet their goals.

Working Conditions

Benefits, facilities and services

The Institute will ensure that:

  • equality is observed in the application of pay and all other terms and conditions; all posts are analysed and evaluated to determine the appropriate salary grade for the post
  • all appropriate benefits, facilities and services are made available to all employees;
  • reasonable and practicable adjustments are made to ensure that facilities and services are available to people with disabilities;
  • consideration is given to any reasonable requests relating to special needs of an employee or student, eg. caring responsibilities, religious beliefs.



The Institute is committed to promoting equality, diversity and an inclusive and supporting environment for its staff, students and others closely associated with its work and affirms the rights of individuals to be treated fairly and with respect.  Sexual, racial and other forms of harassment and bullying will not be tolerated and proven complaints will be dealt with in the context of the Harassment and Bullying Policy.  Harassment and bullying are defined as unacceptable behaviour towards an individual which has the purpose or effect of violating someone else’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.

Examples of conduct that could constitute harassment or bullying, include:

  • any physical contact which is unwanted; coercion or isolation; display of offensive material; offensive jokes; unwelcome remarks about a person’s dress, appearance, race, or age etc; personal insults; persistent criticism.

In support of this, the Institute will:

  • provide a working environment, which respects the rights of each individual, and where persons treat each other with the utmost respect;
  • constantly reinforce the principles that any behaviour, which adversely affects an individual’s dignity, is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated under any circumstances;
  • make it everyone’s responsibility to ensure that harassment has no place in the Institute;
  • recognise the sensitivity of harassment situations by operating an open door policy to discuss problems initially on an informal basis;
  • investigate official complaints of harassment swiftly and confidentially while ensuring that the rights of all parties are protected.

Every reasonable effort will be made to enable members of staff who become disabled while employed with the Courtauld, to remain within its employment.  Similarly, the Institute will make every reasonable effort to enable a student who becomes disabled to continue in their studies.


Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures

An employee with a grievance under equal opportunities should follow the grievance procedure as set out in the terms and conditions of employment and in line with statutory regulations.  However, before taking a decision to follow the formal procedure, an employee has the right to approach HR, their manager, or another manager, if more appropriate, for informal, confidential advice.
Disciplinary procedures shall be used to deal with discrimination complaints, such as behaviour, language, victimisation, harassment.


Service delivery

  • All of the Institute’s in-house services will be provided in line with this policy.
  • The Institute will also, as far as it is possible, seek to ensure that all contracted-out services are provided in line with this policy.



The Institute will:

  • review and promote means to develop the diversity of the Institute’s volunteers.
  • Communicate the equal opportunities policy and its implications to volunteers.


Monitoring and Evaluation

This policy will be monitored and evaluated at all levels of organisational activity as to its effectiveness.  Monitoring will include analysis of data in respect of: recruitment, admission, employee and student composition, training reports and programmes, grievances, disciplinaries, harassment or other complaints.