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JOINT DECLARATION OF PROTECTION - EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES AND SEX DISCRIMINATION

This Declaration is a joint management and union agreement which recognises the moral and statutory responsibilities placed on Employers and trade unions by the Fair Employment (Northern Ireland) Acts 1976 and 1989, the Fair Employment Code of Practice, the Sex Discrimination (Northern Ireland) Orders 1976 and 1988 and the European Recommendation on the Protection of the Dignity of Women and Men at Work 1991. Its purpose is to ensure that all Board employees understand their responsibility for ensuring that their conduct is consistent with the Board's determination to provide a neutral and harmonious working environment for all staff.

Declaration

1. The Southern Education and Library Board and trade unions declare and fully accept that discrimination or victimisation in employment is unacceptable behaviour and is unlawful under the Fair Employment and Sex Discrimination legislation. They are committed to ensuring that any discrimination or victimisation will be vigorously opposed by both management and trade unions.

2. The Board and trade unions affirm that every employee has the right to work free from harassment or intimidation on grounds of race, ethnic origin, gender, marital status, domestic responsibilities, sexual orientation, employment status, perceived religious affiliation, political opinion, membership or non-membership of a trade union, disability, age, willingness to challenge harassment or real or suspected infection by disease.

3. The Board and trade unions jointly condemn harassment or intimidation by words or actions and are committed to take all reasonable steps to prevent it occurring in the workplace. Intimidation or harassment will be regarded as an offence which will result in disciplinary action and may warrant dismissal.

4. The Board declares that all work places will be neutral and that an intimidating work environment will be discouraged by prohibiting:

    (a) the display of flags, emblems, posters, graffiti or the circulation of material or deliberate articulation of slogans or songs perceived to be of a divisive or sectarian nature and likely to give offence or cause apprehension to particular groups of employees. Only the authorised display of flags and emblems which are in line with the spirit and purpose of this declaration will be permitted.

    (b) display or circulation of pornographic posters or other materials which may cause offence.

5. The Board is committed to ensuring that no employee will be treated less favourably because he or she has taken action or may take action in connection with the Fair Employment or Sex Discrimination legislation.

6. The Board will oppose any attempt to prevent the employment, continued employment or career development of any persons in contravention of the Fair Employment (Northern Ireland) Acts or Sex Discrimination legislation.

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