This Week's News 20.10.17
Partner Salon Network (PSN) meeting - October 2017
It was a great to see so many of you at our PSN meeting last Tuesday. We hope you agree that there was lots of interesting presentations, activities and discussion. We really appreciate your active participation.
The minutes and presentations are available on our website. May we take this opportunity to say thank you to those of you who attended and we hope to see you all again for the next PSN meeting on Monday 15th January 2018.
Another successful English and Maths Club
We hosted another very successful E&M Club on the same evening as the PSN meeting. Thanks to those who came - it wouldn't have worked without your commitment, enthusiasm and willingness to 'give it a go'!
Download Apprenticeship Agreement guidance and template
Employers must sign an apprenticeship agreement with an apprentice. This gives details of what you agree to do for the apprentice, including:
- how long you'll employ them for
- the training you'll give them
- their working conditions
- the qualifications they are working towards
You can write your own apprentice agreement or download a template here.
Test your colouring knowledge
Sexual harassment: taking complaints seriously
Examples of sexual harassment at work
- Sharing sexually inappropriate images or videos, such as pornography, with co-workers
- Sending suggestive letters, notes, or e-mails
- Displaying inappropriate sexual images or posters in the workplace
- Telling lewd jokes, or sharing sexual anecdotes
- Making inappropriate sexual gestures
- Staring in a sexually suggestive or offensive manner, or whistling
- Making sexual comments about appearance, clothing, or body parts
- Inappropriate touching, including pinching, patting, rubbing, or purposefully brushing up against another person
- Asking sexual questions, such as questions about someone's sexual history or their sexual orientation
The Harvey Weinstein scandal has once again placed the spotlight on sexual harassment reporting. Victims of sexual harassment are often reluctant to report incidents for fear of retaliation or being disbelieved.
Take complaints seriously
- Complaints regarding sexual harassment should be investigated promptly and in a professional manner
- Do not require a complainant to provide "proof" prior to conducting an investigation. The purpose of the investigation is to gather information and evidence.
- Do not discount the complaint or refuse to investigate because the complaint seems unlikely
- Investigations should be conducted regardless of the identities of the complainant and the alleged perpetrator. In particular, complaints against managers and senior staff should be treated seriously.
Provide support to individuals
- After a complaint has been made, consider how the individual can be supported while the investigation is conducted.
- If the complaint is against another individual in the team, particularly if it is against the complainant's line manager, consider temporarily changing working relationships for the duration of the investigation.
- However, take care not to penalise the individual who has made the complaint if work or reporting lines are reallocated.
- The complainant should be kept informed of the progress of the investigation and its ultimate outcome.
Take proactive measures
- Employees should receive training on bullying and harassment in the workplace so that they are aware that such behaviour is not acceptable.
- Where colleagues or managers witness other individuals being subject to harassment, they should not wait for the victim to make a complaint.
- Colleagues and managers should initiate complaints or investigations where the actions of an employee are serious and should be investigated.
Put a policy in place
- All businesses should have an anti-bullying and harassment workplace policy setting out the type of behaviour that is prohibited, the consequences of such behaviour and the procedure for making a complaint and conducting an investigation.
- However, unless the policy has the support of management, and the business has a culture that supports victims of sexual harassment, putting in place a policy alone will not be an effective approach to combating sexual harassment in the workplace.
How to be more inclusive of transgender people in the workplace
Go beyond LGBT
Some employers don't realise that it's not enough just to cater for one group covered by the acronym LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people). They may also fail to realise that these groups can have very different needs. Transgender people who are considering working for an organisation need to know that it is aware of the specific issues they face. This means employers make a better impression if they mention transgender people specifically in their recruitment materials and statements about equality.
Have a clear diversity policy
Most organisations now have diversity policies but all too often they're a box-ticking exercise and are not backed up in practice. To be useful, a diversity policy needs to be visible to all of an organisation's employees. It should be referenced in workplace communications so that people remember it's there and know that the employer takes it seriously. There needs to be a clear contact point for anybody concerned that the policy is being violated, and you need to have measures in place to protect whistle-blowers. Employers should make sure it explicitly states that discrimination and harassment will not be tolerated.
Take harassment seriously
If a team has been getting along well for a long time and a new transgender employee complains about harassment, it can be easy for employers to assume they must have misunderstood something. If an employee decides to transition, the employer may feel tempted to blame the associated disruption for any ill-feeling. But research shows that transgender people face harassment all the time, and it can be very damaging. It's important to investigate all complaints. If they stem from ignorance, training could help, but problems won't go away by themselves and transgender employees deserve organisations' protection.
Use language carefully
Making transgender people welcome in the workplace isn't just about avoiding words or comments that might cause distress. Employers can make a proactive effort to be inclusive. Respecting the pronouns (terms like "he" and "she") that individuals prefer is really important, even if they're non-binary (have a gender identity not exclusively masculine or feminine) because their use conveys respect. Employers should make sure that data systems don't make mistakes with pronouns, titles or old names. Avoid unnecessary use of gendered language, for instance by saying "people" instead of men and women.
Be aware of health issues
If an employee is going through transition and plans to have surgery, time off work will be needed, and this should be treated in the same way as any other employee needing time off for health-related issues (including elective ones like pregnancy). Occasional time off will also be needed for appointments to manage hormone treatment. When new to taking hormones, transgender people can experience mood swings and intensified emotions. This is a short-term issue and is unlikely to cause problems in a friendly workplace, but an understanding HR department can help.
Be ready to listen
For those who are not part of a minority group themselves, it's impossible to anticipate every problem it faces. What's more, transgender people vary as much individually as any other group of people. This means that it's vital to keep listening and seeking feedback - employers should never assume they understand everything or that they know best. Organisations should make sure transgender employees feel confident about raising any problems they may have and about making suggestions if they think there are ways things can be done better.
Team ITS warmly welcomes this learner who started her Apprenticeship this week
Robyn Giles - Level 2 Hair Professional Apprenticeship - Inspirations, Wokingham
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