Diversity & Inclusion policy

1. Policy Statement

HLK is committed to promoting diversity, preventing discrimination and to creating an inclusive working environment in which everyone can fulfil their potential and maximise their contribution.

Everyone, including colleagues, job applicants, contractors, suppliers and clients will be treated fairly and with dignity and respect regardless of any of the following protected characteristics:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Gender reassignment status
  • Marriage and Civil Partnership status
  • Pregnancy, maternity and paternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief or absence of religion or belief
  • Sexual orientation

2. Understanding and Avoiding Discrimination

 At HLK we want an environment in which all colleagues, job applicants, suppliers, contractors, and clients will feel safe, comfortable, valued and respected. Everyone has a part to play in making this a reality and for the good of all, we will not tolerate any behaviour that constitutes discrimination, harassment or victimisation or that threatens or demeans others. This includes but is not limited to: exclusion; intimidation; use of offensive words or actions; inappropriate or unwanted physical contact; inappropriate gossip, jokes or remarks whether written or spoken; and bullying.

2.1 Types of Discrimination:

  • Direct discrimination – where a person is treated less favourably than others because of a protected characteristic;
  • Indirect discrimination – where a rule or arrangement which cannot be justified is applied to everyone but puts those with a protected characteristic at an unfair disadvantage;
  • Discrimination by association – where a person is treated less favourably because they associate or are connected with someone who possesses a protected characteristic;
  • Harassment – unwanted behaviour linked to a protected characteristic that violates someone’s dignity or creates an offensive environment for Bullying can also be a form a harassment normally related to an abuse of power.

2.2 An important related concept is “victimisation” – where a person is treated less favourably or is punished or threatened with punishment for having complained about discrimination or supported someone else who has complained about

2.3 We treat all cases of discrimination (including for these purposes victimisation) If any member of staff acts in a discriminatory manner towards a colleague, job applicant, contractor, supplier or client this will result in disciplinary action.

2.4 We encourage everyone to report any incident of actual or suspected discrimination to their line manager or to the Head of HR or Chief Executive. All concerns will be taken seriously and investigated promptly under the terms of our grievance

3. Our Wider Diversity Agenda

3.1 We want to create an environment for tolerance and inclusion which goes beyond the anti-discrimination legislation and allows us to value everyone’s potential and to assess everyone purely on merit, avoiding judgements relating to extraneous factors such as (by way of example only):

  • any aspects of physical appearance
  • voice, accent and speaking style
  • national and regional origins
  • educational and social background
  • hobbies and outside interests
  • marital/relationship/parental status

3.2 As far as possible (and always subject to a balanced consideration of the needs of the business, the clients and other colleagues) the Firm will try to meet the needs of individuals at For example:

  • Caring and domestic responsibilities – time off or adjustments to working hours may be appropriate to allow colleagues to care for children or relatives
  • Working patterns –we will consider different working patterns to help colleagues to balance their work and home responsibilities
  • Disability adjustments – disabled colleagues will be consulted about any reasonable adjustments which could be made to make it easier for them to carry out their
  • Religious practices – it may be possible to arrange time off for prayer or religious festivals or to alter dress standards to meet religious needs

4. Recruitment and Selection

The Firm endeavours to attract applicants from a diverse talent pool and aims to recruit and develop the best people. We are committed to treating all applicants fairly and without discrimination and to providing equal opportunities at each stage of the recruitment process.

5. Promotion, Training and Career Development

Promotion within the Firm is based on merit and decisions in relation to advancement and career development are based on demonstrated skills and ability and genuine occupational requirements. All staff will be treated fairly and without discrimination and given equal opportunities in their job or career progression.

6. Remuneration, Benefits and Amenities

 Within the Firm decisions about remuneration, benefits and amenities will be made without regard to or assumptions about the protected characteristics or other extraneous factors. All staff will be treated fairly and without discrimination and given equal opportunities in their job or career progression.

7. Responsibilities

The Firm is committed to the effective implementation of this policy.

7.1 All colleagues are required to read this policy and to behave fully in accordance with its Failure to do so may lead to disciplinary action.

7.2 All Managers are required to give full effect to this policy in their line management roles and to take any complaints or alleged breaches seriously and deal with them swiftly, sensitively and with due regard to confidentially (seeking assistance from the Head of HR as required).

7.3 The Head of HR is responsible for communicating and promoting the policy and ensuring that it is brought to the attention of all staff and that all staff have continuing access to it and also for implementing, reviewing and monitoring the effectiveness of the policy and providing advice to managers on good