ZSL Equality and Diversity Policy

1. Policy Statement

The Zoological Society of London wishes to secure equality of opportunity in its activities as an employer. The adoption of this policy, which applies to all constituent parts of ZSL, is intended to ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to prevent discrimination against existing and prospective employees.

It is the responsibility of the Director General, the Directors and all employees to ensure that this policy is implemented throughout ZSL.

2. Discrimination

ZSL and its employees will not discriminate on the grounds of any of the nine protected characteristics listed in the Equality Act 2010. These protected characteristics are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation. Discrimination on any of these grounds will be viewed as a disciplinary offence.

Serious cases may constitute gross misconduct and may result in summary (i.e. instant) dismissal.

All forms of discrimination outlined at Appendix 1 are unacceptable at ZSL.

ZSL will work with employees and with the recognised trades unions to monitor the effectiveness and working of the policy and to encourage appropriate practices and attitudes to achieve its equality objectives.

3. Responsibilities

Every employee of ZSL, has an important part to play. We expect all staff to:

  • Show respect and courtesy to others at all times, both in person and in writing, including emails and electronic or social media.
  • Express yourself appropriately and carefully in all your instructions.
  • Listen to others respectfully and attentively.
  • Deal with disagreements assertively and not aggressively.
  • Value and welcome differences in people.
  • Use language appropriately and not in a way that may offend, alienate or patronise others.
  • If challenged on behaviour, look at one's own behaviour, attitudes and beliefs, considering where they come from and how they influence your behaviour towards others.
  • Not engage in bullying behaviour towards colleagues or towards any staff under your line management control.

4. Complaints

Every employee should report to their manager, Director or HR any behaviour that is considered to be disrespectful, bullying, harassing, offensive, discriminatory or aggressive. This behaviour should be reported whether it is directed at an individual or at a colleague or from or at a visitor to our zoos.

Steps will be taken to ensure that any inappropriate behaviour is stopped. Where appropriate, the matter will be dealt with informally and discreetly, on other occasions, the formal Disciplinary Procedure may be invoked. ZSL staff should consult the Dignity and Respect at Work Policy for further information.

5. Recruitment

The ZSL Recruitment Policy outlines how we aim to achieve fairness and equality of approach in recruitment. At least the chair of any interviewing panel and preferably all members will have undergone recruitment and selection training; this training will include a session on equality and avoiding bias.

6. During Employment

Our high expectations of staff in respect of equality matters are made clear to staff, both in our induction process and in the Staff Handbook.

ZSL will attempt to accommodate particular cultural or religious needs, where this is reasonably practicable and does not have a detrimental effect on the smooth operation of the department concerned. An example would be changing a rostered duty or a day off for a religious festival.

7. Pay and Conditions

ZSL operates a salary structure and job evaluation scheme, which helps ensure that decisions on pay are made in relation to the job requirements rather than the person.
Employment benefits are generally standard across the organisation. Where these are different, they apply to certain job roles and Departments rather than specific individuals.

8. Training and retraining

Eligibility for training, re-training, promotion and other opportunities will be judged on business need and individual ability, and will not be influenced by an individual’s protected characteristic.

Where an employee has a disability which prevents him or her from returning to their former duties, retraining to another job will be given where a suitable post is available.
Medical advice as to the appropriateness or feasibility of such redeployment will be sought from the Society’s medical adviser as necessary, together with trade union consultation where the employee is a member of a union recognised by ZSL.

All training will be in line with ZSL’s equality objectives and designed to improve the individual’s capabilities to the mutual benefit of both the employee and ZSL.

9. Redundancy

Selection criteria for redundancy will relate directly to the skills, experience and abilities needed for the remaining posts.

10. Criminal Convictions

ZSL will not consider the existence of criminal convictions to be immediate grounds for refusal of employment. Candidates will be considered for employment based on their skills, experience and qualifications for the role.

Candidates will be asked to disclose “unspent” convictions during the application and/or interview process. Where the nature of the offence has a relevance to the role applied for, the suitability of the candidate will be considered in this context. ZSL does, in these circumstances, reserve the right to refuse to offer employment.

Candidates will not be asked to disclose information relating to “spent” convictions, unless the role being recruited for is exempt from the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974. If this is the case, a DBS check will be sought..​

Appendix: definitions

  • Direct Discrimination

Treating a person less favourably than the way in which a person not having that protected characteristic would be treated.

  • Associative Discrimination

Discrimination against a person because they have an association with someone with a particular protected characteristic.

  • Perceptive Discrimination

Discrimination against a person because the discriminator thinks the person possesses that characteristic, even if they do not in fact do so.

  • Indirect Discrimination

Occurs where a policy applies to everybody, but the policy has a disproportionate impact on people with a protected characteristic.

  • Harassment

Defined as: ‘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'.

Under the Act:

Employees can complain of harassment even if they don’t possess the protected characteristic or the harassment is not directed at them
Employers can be liable for harassment of their staff by non-employees (for example, customers).

In the case of third party harassment, an employer will only be liable if the harassment has occurred on at least two previous occasions, knows that it has taken place and has not taken reasonable steps to prevent it happening again.

Last updated: 20/02/2020