Develop an Equal Status Policy
The Equality Authority’s Guidelines for Equal Status Policies in Enterprises defines an Equal Status Policy as
a statement of organisational commitment to equality, diversity and non discrimination for customers or service users from across the nine grounds covered by the equality legislation.
Develop your Equal Status Policy to make sure that all of your customers and staff know their legal rights to equal treatment. Consult customers, including those with disabilities, to get their views on an Equal Status Policy before you start working on it.
In your Equal Status Policy, state:
- your organisation’s commitment to non-discrimination
- that your organisation accommodates customers across all grounds covered by the equality laws
- how your organisation promotes positive action for people with disabilities
- how you promote and plan for reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities
- your organisation’s policy on sexual harassment and harassment of customers with disabilities
- who is responsible for monitoring, reviewing and implementing the policy
- objectives, targets, and timescales.
Display the Equal Status Policy to your customers in your public buildings and on your websites.
- Provide equality training for staff who work in customer service
- Appoint an Equality Officer
- Make sure you that your customers know how to complain to your organisation if they feel that your staff have discriminated against them
- Make sure that you have a procedure for logging, tracking, and dealing with those complaints
- Keep track of which customers are using your services and how they use your services, if that’s practical. For example:
- what sort of computers and browsers do they use to look at your websites?
- what percentage of your customers prefer to visit your building instead of using your websites?
- which of your services are most important for customers with disabilities?
Provide reasonable accommodation for customers with disabilities
The Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2011 say that service providers should do whatever is reasonable to accommodate a person with a disability whose disability prevents them from accessing that service. The Equality Authority have a Guide to the Equal Status Acts 2000–2008. Make sure that your staff:
- are familiar with the Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2011
- are available to help customers who need help
- know how to arrange expert services, such as Irish Sign Language interpreters, when customers request them
- know how to provide information in accessible formats, when customers request that.
Let customers know that your organisation can and will accommodate them, by:
- using images and language that include people with disabilities, in information such as brochures, annual reports, and webpages
- advertising services to customers with disabilities, in media that is targeted at people with disabilities
- consulting customers with disabilities and disability groups.