EMCS declares its adherence to and support for the Equality for Men and Women Act, Cap. 456 and the Employment and Industrial Relations Act, Cap. 452 of the Laws of Malta. This means that discrimination and any form of harassment are considered as very serious offences and which demand awareness and specific actions to be taken by the individuals concerned.
The victim of discrimination and/or harassment may experience emotional stress, physical stress, and/or a negative change in performance. On the other hand, the Firm may be negatively affected through low morale amongst members of staff that may lead to increased absenteeism, employee turnover and low performance.
EMCS is an equal opportunity employer and equality at the place of work is considered a sign of good management. Thus, EMCS affirms that its policies and procedures are free from any type of discrimination.
EMCS aims to provide an inclusive environment which promotes equality, values, diversity and maintains a working environment in which the rights and dignity of its entire staff are respected. In this respect EMCS declares that no employee will be discriminated against, either directly or indirectly, on the grounds of gender, sexual orientation, age, nationality, race/ ethnic origin, marital status, pregnancy or potential pregnancy, disability, sexual orientation, religious or other beliefs.
EMCS shall not contemplate any discriminatory practices in: - Vacancies and vacancy advertisements; - Job descriptions; - Interviews and selection of candidates for employment; - Conditions of employment offered to such candidates; - Performance management processes; - Career progression opportunities - Procedures regarding termination of employment.
Harassment may take many forms including insensitive or deliberately abusive comments/behaviour and/or other content published on the internet and social media. Employees may not always realise that their behaviour constitutes harassment. Harassment is unwanted behaviour by one employee towards another with the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment because of membership in or association with a protected category. This type of conduct also has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or career advancement opportunities. Some examples of harassing conduct towards an individual or group may include but are not limited to:
a. repetitive insensitive jokes and pranks,
b. lewd or abusive comments about appearance or actions,
c. deliberate exclusion from conversations,
d. displaying abusive or offensive writing or material, e. unwelcome touching, and
f. abusive, threatening or insulting words or behaviour.
EMCS does not accept any instances, whether overt or subtle, of sexual harassment involving sexual advances, requests for sexual favours and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, such as:
1. Subjecting another employee to unwelcome acts, requests or behaviours, including spoken words, gestures or the production, display or circulation of written words or materials which could reasonably be regarded as offensive, humiliating or intimidating
2. Subjecting another employee to acts of physical intimacy, sexual favours or any act or conduct with sexual connotations.
This applies whether the alleged harasser is a Partner, an employee or a non-employee (such as a client or a supplier or anyone else who may happen to be at the place of work). The policy also applies if such incidents occur outside office hours or outside the Firm’s premises but during a work-related function.
Any employee of EMCS who believes that he/she may be experiencing any form of discrimination or harassment should tell the offender to desist from such behaviour immediately. This is known as taking informal action to address the offence.
If the complainant would prefer not to confront the offender he/she may lodge a formal, written and signed report to the HR partner and/or HR Manager in writing and including the following details:
1. Name of complainant,
2. Name of the harasser,
3. Nature of harassment,
4. Dates and times when harassment took place,
5. Names of potential witnesses to the alleged incidents,
6. Action taken by complainant to stop the harassment.
In this way EMCS would be in a position to tackle such cases fairly, consistently, constructively, promptly and with utmost confidentiality. All accusations will be taken seriously but the Firm does not presume guilt and will give every opportunity for both complainant and alleged harasser to express and/or defend their respective positions and to be represented in front of a disciplinary committee set up for this purpose. Such disciplinary committee may also include people who do not form part of the firm. This may be done to ensure impartiality and fairness.
Investigations in such cases of harassment or discrimination shall be held in private but those who need to be informed about an allegation for the purpose of the investigation shall be told. No “off the record” discussions may be allowed when investigating cases involving sexual harassment or discrimination.
If the investigation results in a clear violation of this policy, disciplinary action shall be taken and this may include but is not limited to: verbal warning, written warning, suspension with or without pay, redeployment within the firm, postponed salary review, suspension of progression or promotion, apology to the victim and even dismissal from the Firm. If the case is deemed to warrant it, a police report might also be lodged.
If the investigation shows that all allegations made against the alleged offender were false then the complainant would be liable to any of the disciplinary sanctions listed above, as the case may be and in fulfilment of the principles of truth and justice.
Protection against retaliation
Every employee is entitled to work in an office free of discrimination or harassment. In this respect employees should not be afraid or feel guilty about confronting the offender and/or reporting the case in a formal way. EMCS strongly forbids any form of retaliation against an employee who opposed harassment or discrimination, or against witnesses who participate during such an investigation. Therefore, retaliation would be considered as a breach of this policy and the individual who retaliates would be subjected to the same disciplinary procedure and consequences, including dismissal.