Human Resources

Equality, diversity & inclusion

Equal Opportunities: Code of Practice

Loughborough University is committed to achieving equality for all those who learn and work here and wishes to develop a demonstrably fair and supportive environment which provides equality of opportunity and freedom from unlawful discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, gender, gender identity (transgender), marital or civil partnership status, disability, including mental health, sexual orientation, religion or belief, age, social class or offending background, pregnancy & maternity. We are proud of our diverse community and wish to encourage and celebrate its full contribution to a University life where all colleagues are treated equally and with respect.

The ideal of equality of opportunity is built into the framework of Loughborough University. Its Charter declares:

“The University shall show no discrimination against any person in determining whether he/she is to be admitted as a Member of the University, or permitted to graduate or to hold any other advantage or privilege of the University on account of political belief, social background or in relation to any of the protected characteristics established in equalities legislation.” Loughborough University Charter paragraph 20.

This means that the University is committed to actively opposing all forms of discrimination faced by Black and minority ethnic groups, women, lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgendered people, members of religious groups, younger and older people, people with disabilities and those with an offending background. Opposition to many forms of discrimination is informed by legislation. However, the University also seeks to assist and offer opportunities to groups and individuals who experience disadvantage and discrimination on grounds which are not currently covered by the law. In this way, the University acknowledges the role of higher education in furthering widespread equality of opportunity and breaking down social exclusion.

The University has agreed this Code and other codes of practice which examine in more detail, areas where equality of opportunity is vital (see list of codes at the end of this leaflet). Discrete equal opportunity codes are helpful in developing an understanding of particular issues, but the University recognises that equality of opportunity can only be achieved if these codes inform all aspects of University life. This Code, therefore, must be adopted by the University and by all University staff, students, visitors and contractors who are jointly responsible for helping to ensure that individuals do not suffer discrimination and that equality of opportunity is promoted. It applies to the activities pursued in all University working, studying and living environments. If, however, discrimination does occur individuals are encouraged to report it to the Equality and Diversity Adviser and are supported in doing so by the University.

Reasons for this policy

The University celebrates and values diversity but also recognises that various forms of discrimination exist which equal opportunities initiatives help to overcome. The University also recognises that equal opportunities initiatives positively affect both educational and employment experiences. A working, studying and living environment which is free from discrimination encourages effective performance and creativity, whereas discrimination can instead cause underachievement. By encouraging effectiveness in work and study, equality of opportunity is strongly linked with high quality performance which is essential for individual success and the development of the University. Additionally, there is recent legislation which prohibit discrimination in employment and study, The Equality Act 2010.


Equality of opportunity is understood to offer fair, equal and respectful treatment to all individuals. On the other hand, the University understands discrimination to be unequal or differential treatment which leads to one person being treated more or less favourably than others are, or would be, treated in the same or similar circumstances.  Discrimination may be direct or indirect. Direct discrimination is deliberate. Discrimination is indirect when an unnecessary requirement, condition or practice is imposed, preferred or desired, intentionally or otherwise, which excludes a disproportionately high number of people from a particular group. The University will not tolerate any form of discrimination, such as that which may be faced by Black and minority ethnic groups, women, lesbians, gay men, members of religious groups, older people, people with disabilities and those with an offending background. The University recognises that some people belong to more than one of these groups.

Complaints procedure

Complaints about discrimination against either staff or students are taken very seriously and could provide grounds for disciplinary action that may lead to dismissal or expulsion from the University. Furthermore, individuals may be subject to prosecution.

Complaints about discrimination in employment including staff should be made, if possible, to your line manager, Head of Department or to the Equality and Diversity Adviser. The complaint will be dealt with through the grievance procedures set out in the appropriate Conditions of Service. If appropriate, the complaint may be made to the University’s Harassment Panel. The Panel consists of academic and non-academic staff from across the University who are available to talk to staff, or students, in confidence. They offer support, advice and assistance in seeking a satisfactory solution to the issues raised. The Panel are willing to discuss any incidents or problems, no matter how serious or trivial they may seem. (Contact details are listed in the Sidebar).

Complaints about discrimination involving students should be made to the relevant Head of Department, Warden, Security, the Equality and Diversity Adviser and the Director of Student Services. The Chief Operating Officer will also be informed. The Head of Department or Chief Operating Officer will initiate disciplinary action against students in accordance with the procedures set out in Ordinance XV11. These procedures include referral to a Student Disciplinary Panel, which may impose a range of penalties, including termination of studies at the University.

Complaints about discrimination involving contractors and visitors should be made to the relevant Head of Department or the Equality and Diversity Adviser.

You may also wish to contact the national body mandated to investigate discrimination, the Equality and Human Rights Commission.


Complaints about discrimination will be monitored on an annual basis. The monitoring process will report to the Human Resources Committee and statistical information about complaints of discrimination within the University will be produced by the Equality and Diversity Adviser. Names of individuals concerned with incidents will not be published.

Equal opportunity initiatives will also be monitored and this information will be reported to the Human Resources Committee.


The co-operation of all University staff, students, contractors and visitors is essential to ensure the success of this Code. The implementation of this Code takes place at various levels. At an institutional level, the University and the Human Resources Committee are responsible. All University staff, students, visitors and contractors are also responsible for helping to ensure that individuals do not suffer discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity. Staff with responsibility for teaching, support and welfare of students and those who manage others have additional responsibilities to ensure that this Code is actively pursued.

The University is committed to opposing discrimination and promoting equality of opportunity and is involved in training programmes to heighten awareness and encourage good practice. Further information about equal opportunities, their impact, strategies for preventing discrimination, including training or publications available, is available from the Equality and Diversity Adviser.