Kildare Sports and Leisure Facilities Ltd is committed to the implementation of the Equal Status Act 2000 and will continue to support and develop initiatives that encourages diversity by ensuring that our premises and services are accessible to everybody.

We endeavour to provide an excellent standard of service and to do this the expertise of all our staff is crucial. We are committed to providing all our staff with the knowledge and expertise to deal confidently with any issues and to be professional in dealing with all our customers.

This Equal Status Policy for the K Leisure Group sets out our desire to meet our obligations under the Equal Status Act, 2000. We will be proactive in promoting equality and will work to prevent discrimination. We will strive to ensure:

  • That the services we provide are free from discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and victimisation.
  • That all of our customers, service providers and employees are treated with respect and dignity.
  • That all services that we provide are accessible and relevant.
  • That our services accommodate diversity and seek to meet specific needs of particular individuals or groups of customers.
  • That our services seek to benefit everybody across the 9 identified grounds for discrimination by promoting equality and implementing positive action.
  • That discrimination, sexual harassment or harassment of or by staff employed in K Leisure and non-employees such as customers and visitors will not be tolerated and may lead to disciplinary action and other sanctions. For employees, actions may include suspension from duty or termination of employment contracts. For non-employees, actions may include suspension of services or exclusion from K Leisure premises.
  • That any complaints by staff, customers or visitors will be treated with fairness and sensitivity and in as confidential a manner as possible. Any complaints should be directed to our equality officer.

Definitions

What is sexual harassment?

        • Act of physical intimacy.
        • Request for sexual favours.
        • Other act or conduct including spoken words, gestures or the production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other material that is unwelcome and could reasonably be regarded as sexually offensive, humiliating or intimidating.

Many forms of behavior can constitute sexual harassment. It includes examples like those contained in the following list although it must be emphasized that the list is illustrative rather than exhaustive. A single incident may constitute sexual harassment.

Physical conduct of a sexual nature - This may include unwanted physical contact such as unnecessary touching, patting or pinching or brushing against another person’s body, assault and coercive sexual intercourse.

Verbal conduct of a sexual nature - This includes unwelcome sexual advances, propositions or pressure for sexual activity, continued suggestions for social activity outside the work place after it has been made clear that such suggestions are unwelcome, unwanted or offensive flirtations, suggestive remarks, innuendos or lewd comments.

Non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature - This may include the display of pornographic or sexually suggestive pictures, objects, written materials, emails, text-messages or faxes. It may also include leering, whistling or making sexually suggestive gestures.

Sex-based conduct - This would include conduct that denigrates or ridicules or is intimidating or physically abusive of a person because of his or her sex such as derogatory or degrading abuse or insults which are gender-related.


What is harassment?

The definition of harassment is similar to that of sexual harassment but without the sexual element. The harassment has to be based on the relevant characteristic of the person whether it be the person’s marital status, family status, sexual orientation, religious belief, age, disability, race, colour, nationality or ethnic or national origin or membership of the travelling community. Bullying that is not linked to one of the discriminatory grounds is not covered by the Equal Status Act, 2000.

Harassment is any act or conduct including spoken words, gestures or the production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other material if the action or conduct is unwelcome to the person and could reasonably be regarded as offensive, humiliating or intimidating.

Many forms of behaviour may constitute harassment including:

        • Verbal harassment - jokes, comments, ridicule or songs.
        • Written harassment - faxes, text messages, emails or notices.
        • Physical harassment - jostling, shoving or any form of assault.
        • Intimidating harassment - gestures, posturing or threatening poses.
        • Visual displays such as posters, emblems or badges.
        • Isolation or exclusion from social activities.
        • Pressure to behave in a manner that the person thinks is inappropriate, for example being required to dress in a manner unsuited to a person’s ethnic or religious background.

The Equal Status Act, 2000 does not prohibit all relations of a sexual or social nature. To constitute sexual harassment or harassment the behaviour complained of must firstly be unwelcome. It is up to each person to decide (a) what behaviour is unwelcome, irrespective of the attitude of others to the matter and (b) from whom, if anybody, such behaviour is welcome or unwelcome, irrespective of the attitudes of others to the matter. The fact that an individual has previously agreed to the behaviour does not stop him/her from deciding that it has now become unwelcome. It is the unwanted nature of the conduct which distinguishes sexual harassment and harassment from friendly behaviour which is welcome and mutual.


The Equal Status Act, 2000

            • Promotes equality of opportunity.
            • Prohibits discrimination subject to exemptions on 9 specified grounds of:
              • Gender – man, woman, transgender.
              • Marital status – single, married, separated, divorced or widowed.
              • Family status – responsibility as a parent or as a person in loco parentis in relation to a person under 18 years, or as a parent or resident primary carer of a person over 18 years with a disability which is of such a nature as to give rise to the need for care or support on a continuing, regular or frequent basis.
              • Disability – broadly defined in the act and includes the following descriptors:
                • The total or partial absence of a person’s bodily or mental functions, including the absence of a part of a person’s body.
                • The presence in the body of organisms causing, or likely to cause, chronic disease or illness.
                • The malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of a person’s body.
                • A condition or malfunction which results in a person learning differently from a person without the condition or malfunction.
                • A condition, disease or illness which affects a person’s thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgement which may result in disturbed behaviour.
              • Sexual orientation – heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual.
              • Age – between the ages of 18 and 65 or from 15 years if involved in vocational training.
              • Religion- includes different religious backgrounds or outlooks also absence of any religious beliefs.
              • Race- colour, nationality, ethnic origins or national origins.
              • Membership of the travelling community- means the community of people who are commonly called travellers and who are identified by themselves and others as people with a shared history, culture and traditions that includes a nomadic way of life on the island of Ireland.
            • Prohibits sexual harassment and harassment on the 9 discriminatory grounds.
            • Requires the reasonable accommodation of people with disabilities.
            • Allows for a wide range of positive actions.

Responsibilities under the Policy

(a) Senior Management Team

The senior management team is responsible for implementing the Equal Status Policy.

(a)Equality Officer

The Equality officer’s role is to support the senior management team in the implementation of this Equal Status Policy. The terms of reference of the equality officer is to:

                    • Consider internal equality issues.
                    • Focus on internal practices and procedures and the values they reflect in accordance with the commitments made in our employment equality and equal status policies.
                    • Keep these equality policies under review.
                    • Keep an overall focus on their operation.
                    • Provide an impetus for their operation.
                    • Contribute thinking and reflection on their operation.
                    • Report regularly to the Chief Executive Officer.

(c) Management

Management and others in positions of authority have a particular responsibility to ensure that discrimination against K Leisure’s customers does not occur and that equality is promoted.

Management should:

                    • Provide good example by treating customers with courtesy and respect.
                    • Promote awareness of the equality policies and procedures.
                    • Be vigilant for signs of discrimination and take action before a complaint escalates.
                    • Respond sensitively to a customer who makes a complaint of discrimination.
                    • Explain the procedures to be followed if a complaint of discrimination is made.
                    • Ensure that a customer making a complaint is not victimized for doing so.
                    • Monitor and follow up the situation after a complaint is made so that discrimination does not recur.

(d) Employees

All staff employed in K Leisure can contribute to achieving a discrimination free environment and to promoting equality through cooperating with policies and procedures to eliminate discrimination and promote equality. Discrimination, sexual harassment and harassment or bullying of K Leisure customers by staff will not be tolerated and may lead to disciplinary action.

(e) Organisations from within the nine grounds

Groups and organisations representing people who belong to the nine grounds can play a role in the prevention of discrimination and the promotion of equality in the provision of K Leisure’s services through their participation in the development and implementation of policies and procedures, in feedback mechanisms, and through their information, training and advocacy services.

(f) Non-employees

Discrimination against customers or staff by non-employees will not be tolerated and may lead to termination of contracts, suspension of services, exclusion from the premises or the imposition of other sanctions.


Actions

1. Materials

This policy and other information is provided in a relevant and accessible manner to people from across the nine grounds. We provide information on our fully accessible website and we also provide information in alternative formats such as large print and braille at our reception desks where our fully trained staff will be happy to provide assistance as required.

2. Reasonable Accommodation of People with Disabilities

K Leisure has an obligation to reasonably accommodate customers with disabilities by providing special treatment or facilities so that it is not impossible or unduly difficult for the customer to avail of the service. This obligation is limited to the extent that there is no obligation to provide reasonable accommodation which costs more than a nominal cost.

K Leisure expects that a percentage of its customers will have disabilities including physical, intellectual and sensory disabilities and mental health issues. K Leisure seeks to anticipate the requirements of customers with disabilities and to ensure that customers with disabilities will not be excluded by barriers including physical, systemic, communication and attitudinal barriers.

K Leisure seeks to ensure that staff do not use inappropriate or disrespectful language, speak too quickly or unclearly, or provide information only in small print. We also aim to ensure that staff do not display patronizing attitudes and make assumptions about people’s abilities or inabilities. K Leisure seeks to ensure that the physical and service environment is fully accessible and as such has applied for the excellence through accessibility award administered by the National Disability Authority.

K Leisure will provide, where appropriate and reasonable, alternative methods of making services available and also auxiliary aids as required. Each person has unique needs and must be considered, assessed and accommodated individually. On occasions it may be appropriate to ask customers to identify whether they have any particular requirements. K Leisure seeks to provide an environment where a person with a disability can identify what their needs are and how these might best be met through dialogue with staff. Staff training will support a capacity to make reasonable accommodation. The accessibility/equality officer has the responsibility to ensure that customers with disabilities are reasonably accommodated.

3. Reasonable Accommodation of Diversity

K Leisure is committed to the reasonable accommodation of diversity in the manner in which our services are provided. We will take steps to address needs specific to customers from all of the other grounds in order to enable them to avail of our services, through for example, dialogue with them to identify their needs and how these might best be met.

4. Customer Relations

We will deal with customers in a considerate, courteous and open manner and will be straightforward, consistent and professional. We seek to provide a harassment free environment for our customers. We seek to treat all customers fairly and not to discriminate, while respecting individual differences and needs.

5. Customer Feedback

We encourage the participation of representative organisations in feedback systems. We have regular meetings with organisations representing and articulating the interests of those experiencing inequality. We will develop more proactive customer feedback mechanisms including the use of comment cards and questionnaires in our premises and on our website.

6. Communications Strategy

We endeavour to ensure that people across the nine grounds are aware of our services and we implement a communications strategy that uses channels of communication, formats and media that are accessible to all across the nine grounds.

7. Events

We aspire to provide excellent facilities at all our events. We use safe, accessible premises and provide audio facilities and interpreters including signers as appropriate.

8. Outcomes

We strive to realise benefits for all groups across the nine grounds. This is reflected in the criteria that are used in prioritizing our work, using positive action measures targeting specific groups and by investing in accommodating diversity as appropriate.

9. Official language equality

We will comply with the requirements of the Official Languages Act 2003.

10. Advertising

We will keep all advertising under review to ensure that it complies with the Equal Status Act, 2000, that it includes a positive reflection of diversity and that it promotes equality.


Communication of this Policy

K Leisure is committed to the effective communication of this policy. It will be communicated to:

(a) Staff

Current staff will be made aware of the policy at staff meetings and through the ongoing work of management and of the equality officer. New staff will be made aware of the policy as part of the formal induction process.

(b) Organisations from within the nine grounds

Groups representing the nine grounds will be made aware of the policy through participation in K Leisure. They will be furnished with copies of the policy and kept up to date in relation to any changes.

(c) Customers and Visitors to K Leisure

A summary of the policy will be prominently displayed in the reception lobby and on the website. A short statement confirming the policies in existence and K Leisure’s commitment to it will be displayed in the reception area. Any contract with a service provider for K Leisure will provide that discrimination against customers or staff will constitute a repudiation of the contract and may be a ground to terminate the contract.


Staff Training

We provide training to staff on quality customer service, on equality in particular about issues related to the nine grounds covered by the equality legislation, on the prevention of discrimination, bullying, harassment and sexual harassment, and on effective strategies in accommodating diversity and promoting equality.


Monitoring

We have mechanisms in place to collect and track customer data across the nine grounds. We review and evaluate initiatives to ensure quality and impact across all nine grounds.


Complaints

We endeavour to provide an excellent service to all our customers. While doing this, we also maintain an accessible, easy-to-use system for dealing with any complaints about the service we provide. We ensure that customers initially have access to the duty manager of the area where the complaint has arisen, to seek resolution of the difficulty, if possible. We have also appointed an equality officer, John O Connell, who acts as a contact person for customers dissatisfied with a duty manager’s response to a complaint. He will also inform the customer of the time limits under the Equal Status Act.


Review

We are committed to:

              • Keeping this policy under review.
              • Monitoring outcomes across the grounds.
              • Reporting annually to our Board of Directors on its implementation and on any positive action taken.