S&O Intellectual Property is committed to encouraging equality, diversity and inclusion among all team members in our global network.

The aim is for our legal teams across the world to be truly representative of all sections of society and our customers, and for each team member to feel respected and empowered to always deliver their best to clients and to our firm.

The organisation - in providing goods and/or services and/or facilities - is also committed to ensuring that unlawful discrimination against customers or the public does not occur.

The Policy’s purpose is to:

•Provide equality, fairness and respect for all of our team members, whether permanent, temporary, part-time or full-time;

•Protect characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race (including colour, nationality, and ethnic or national origin), religion or beliefs, sex and sexual orientation;

• Oppose and avoid all forms of discrimination. This includes areas of; compensation and benefits, terms and conditions of employment, dealing with grievances and discipline, dismissal, redundancy, leave for family matters, requests for flexible working arrangements, and selection for employment, promotion, training or other developmental opportunities

The organisation commits to:

•  Encouraging equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace to enhance practice success and client satisfaction by combining diverse perspectives, experiences and opinions – all resulting in the resolution of legal issues.  

• Creating a working environment free of bullying, harassment, victimisation and discrimination, promoting dignity and respect for all, and one where individual differences and the contributions of all team members are recognised and valued.

• Training managers and all other team members about their rights and responsibilities under the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy. Responsibilities include team members conducting themselves in ways that result in the organisation providing equal employment opportunities, and preventing bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination.

•  Ensuring that all team members understand they, as well S&O, can be held liable for acts of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination, in the course of their employment, against fellow employees, customers, suppliers and the public.

•Taking seriously complaints of bullying, harassment, victimisation and  discrimination by team members, customers, suppliers, visitors, the public and any others in the course of the firm’s work activities.

•Dealing with such acts as misconduct under the firm’s grievance and/or disciplinary procedures, and ensuring that appropriate action will be taken. Particularly serious complaints could amount to gross misconduct and lead to dismissal without notice.

•Acknowledging that sexual harassment may amount to both an employment rights matter and a criminal matter, such as that encountered in sexual assault allegations. In addition, harassment – which is not limited to circumstances where harassment relates to a protected characteristic – is a criminal offence.

•Making opportunities for training, development and progress available to all team members, who will be helped and encouraged to develop to their full potential, so their talents and resources can be fully utilised to maximise the efficiency and professionalism of the firm.

•Reviewing employment practices and procedures as necessary to ensure fairness, and also to update them along with related policies to take into account evolving areas of the law.

• Monitoring the make-up of the firm’s global network regarding areas such as team members’ age, sex, ethnic background, sexual orientation, religion or beliefs, and disability in encouraging equality, diversity and inclusion, and in meeting the aims and commitments set out in the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy.

Monitoring will also include assessing how the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy, and any supporting action plan, are working in practice, reviewing them annually, and considering and taking action to address any issues.

The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy is fully supported by senior management.

Details of the organisation’s grievance and disciplinary policies and procedures can be requested by contacting [email protected] This includes with whom an employee should raise a grievance – usually their line manager.