Communications

EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY

Our Commitment

We, at Avadis & Co, are committed to eliminating unlawful discrimination and to promoting equality and diversity within our policies, practices and procedures.

We shall treat everyone equally and with the same attention, courtesy and respect regardless of:

(a) sex (including marital status, gender reassignment, pregnancy, maternity and paternity);

(b) sexual orientation (including civil partnership status);

(c) race or racial group (including colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins);

(d) religion or belief;

(e) age;

(f) caring responsibility; or

(g) disability.

Legislation

We will take all reasonable steps to ensure that we and our staff do not unlawfully discriminate under any relevant legislation in force from time to time relating to discrimination in employment and the provision of goods, facilities or services.

Meeting Clients Needs

We will treat all clients equally and fairly and not unlawfully discriminate against them. The firm will also, wherever possible, take steps to promote equal opportunity in relation to access to the legal services that we provide, taking account of the diversity of the communities that we serve.

Third Parties Instructions

We will not unlawfully discriminate in dealings with third parties. This applies to dealings with other legal service providers and general procurement.

We will instruct barristers, experts or agents on the basis of their skill, experience and ability and not unlawfully discriminate, or encourage barristers’ clerks to unlawfully discriminate on the grounds of their age; gender; marital status; race; religion or belief; sexual orientation or on the grounds of disability.

Employment

We will treat all employees and job applicants equally and fairly and not unlawfully discriminate against them. This applies equally to voluntary positions and anyone undertaking work experience with us.

Conditions of service

We will treat all employees equally and create a working environment which is free from unlawful discrimination and which respects the diverse backgrounds and beliefs of employees. Terms and conditions of service for employees will comply with anti-discrimination legislation. The provision of benefits such as flexible working hours, maternity and other leave arrangements, performance appraisal systems, dress code, bonus schemes and any other conditions of employment will not unlawfully discriminate against any employee on the grounds of their age; gender and gender reassignment; marital status; race; religion or belief; sexual orientation or on the grounds of disability.

Where appropriate and necessary, the firm will endeavour to provide appropriate facilities and conditions of service which take into account the specific needs of employees which arise from their ethnic or cultural background; gender and gender reassignment; responsibilities as carers; disability; religion or belief or sexual orientation.

If employees are disabled, or become disabled in the course of their employment within the Practice, they are encouraged to tell us about their condition. This is to enable the Practice to support the employees as much as possible.

COMMUNICATIONS PLAN

Our communications plan sets out what steps we have taken and/or will take to put in place customer service policies and procedures to make our services accessible to clients. It contains a list of policies and procedures; information about what steps we will take to put them in place; and how we will make our policies and procedures openly available for the public.

1. It is important that our policy in relation to complaints are made available to our client’s and that they are aware of how they might seek redress in relation to any complaint that they may have. To this end we will ensure that our complaints procedure is set out in full in the care letter. This is a letter to be sent to every client and therefore by placing the policy in this letter it will receive the widest circulation.

2. For those clients who do not speak English we have access to a wide range of interpreters and translators which will allow us to communicate with them in their own language.

3. We can provide our documents in large type if requested.

4. For those clients who live too far from any office to visit or who are unable to access any office through injury or disability we will make arrangements to see them at the magistrates’ court or in exceptional circumstances at their home addresses and take their instructions there. For any of clients held in custody or secure hospitals we will arrange to visit them at their places of detention in order for full instructions to be taken.

5. The firm will instruct barristers on the basis of their skill, experience and ability and not unlawfully discriminate, or encourage barristers’ clerks to unlawfully discriminate on the grounds of their age; gender; marital status; race; religion or belief; sexual orientation or on the grounds of disability.

6. We have a number of applications for our Training Contracts, which we award each year. It is clear we receive applicants from across the country and from a diverse range of ethnic and religious backgrounds.

7. We provide work placements for school, college and university applicants from across the country.

Laurie Avadis has overall responsibility for the monitoring and implementation of the Equality and Diversity Policy and therefore this Communications Plan.

Employees and partners/members/directors will be informed of the Communications Plan and training will be provided where appropriate to ensure that it is effectively implemented.

The firm will review the operation of this policy not less than annually (or more regularly if we identify any non-compliance or problems concerning equality and diversity issues with clients or personnel). We will take remedial action if we discover non-compliance under this policy or barriers to equal opportunities.

We shall also ensure that this policy appears on our web site in order that it is widely available to all.

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