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Want to stay on the right side of the law? We support businesses and public authorities and help them to promote good practice.

Model Policies

for employers

What you need to know


Model Policies and Procedures

To become an equal opportunities employer, a good starting point is to develop a number of key employment policies and procedures that will help to show your commitment to the principle and which will provide clear guidance to your managers and employees as to how you wish and expect them to behave.

To help you to get started, the Commission has drafted some examples of key policies that we hope you find useful in reviewing and adopting to suit your own circumstances. These are our “model” policies and procedures and they outline the main statements of principle and procedures that we believe such documents should contain. They are as follows:


Is it obligatory to have policies and procedures like our examples above?

The short answer is “no”: there is no statutory legal obligation on you to have these policies and procedures. However, we strongly recommend that you have policies and procedures that cover each of the areas as indicated above.

Example 1: in the event that a job applicant or one of your employees brings a discrimination complaint against you in an industrial tribunal, if you try to defend yourself on the basis that you are an equal opportunities employer, you may find it difficult to persuade the tribunal to accept your claim if you have not adopted any of the key employment policies and procedures.

Example 2: when applying for tenders to provide goods and services to public authorities, you are likely to be asked whether you are an equal opportunities employer. One of the main ways of putting yourself in the position to be able to answer “yes” to that question is to show that you have adopted the key employment policies and procedures. In some tendering exercises
you may be asked to submit a copy of your Equal Opportunities Policy with your application.

Example 3: a common characteristic of equal opportunities employers is that they are likely to help their employees to develop their full potential, fully utilising their talents and resources to maximise the efficiency of their businesses. Being an “equal opportunities employer” also helps to attract the best talent available when recruiting staff.

  • Download our employment equality law update (April 2016, pdf, 2.46mb) - This newsletter is produced by the Equality Commission and the Labour Relations Agency and focuses on equality and employment law from a Northern Ireland perspective.

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