Equal Opportunity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy

Introduction

Reaching Sky Foundation is committed to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion. We make every effort to treat all employees, candidates and external stakeholders of all races, religions, genders, colors, ages, national origins, sexual orientation, and physical disabilities equally.

This Policy is without prejudice to any anti-discrimination provisions of applicable law including, but not restricted to, the provisions of:

• The Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955

• The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989

• Sections 354 and 509 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860; and,

• The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995


Policy Objectives

The objectives of this Policy are to ensure that all :

Individuals and groups within the society work in an environment where all decisions and actions (inclusive of compensation, benefits, transfers, layoffs, society-sponsored training programs, and social and recreational programs) are free of discrimination, where they have equal opportunity based on competencies and requirements of the society.


Guidelines

Equal Employment opportunity : All hiring and employment decisions at Reaching Sky Foundation are solely made on the basis of professional competence of the applicant and in light of the organization’s requirement. We strive to extend equal opportunity to all aspects of the employment relationship, including but not limited to hiring, promotions, training and development, compensation and benefits, and do not discriminate in any manner against any employee or applicant.


The Society provides equal opportunities to its employees, consultants or other business partners associated with the Society and does no discrimination. All actions of the Society relating to compensation, benefits, transfers, leave, layoffs, training, education, and assistance of the employees will be made in a fair and equitable manner free from any discrimination.


Notwithstanding anything contained in the previous paragraph, if the Society reasonably believes that its employment, workplace or premises do not adequately represent the balance of diversity of persons who share one or more of the Discrimination Characteristics as defined in section 4 of this policy, it may, with the aim only of redressing that imbalance, take positive discriminatory action in respect of persons who share that aspect, or those aspects, of the Discrimination Characteristics that are sought to be adequately represented.


Equal Opportunity for persons with disabilities :

In accordance with the provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (“RPWD Act”) and Rules, it is our policy to ensure that the work environment is free from any discrimination against persons with disabilities, and is inclusive for everyone alike. The Society shall ensure that no opportunity is denied to persons with disabilities, merely on ground of the disability. Appropriate facilities, amenities and processes will be provided to persons with disabilities to enable them to effectively perform their job responsibilities.


Maintenance of records under the RPWD Act :

The HR team will maintain data regarding employees with disabilities in relation to their employment, facilities provided and other necessary information as per the RPWD Act. For this, individuals with disabilities who apply or employees who believe themselves to be covered by the RPWD Act, should contact their respective HR POC. Any information obtained in this regard is voluntary, will be kept confidential, and will be used in accordance with applicable laws. Refusal to provide information will not subject an employee or applicant to any adverse treatment. Employees and applicants will be protected from coercion, intimidation, interference, discrimination or retaliation for filing a complaint or assisting in an investigation under the Act.


Any person who believes himself or herself to have been subjected to adverse discrimination, or impermissible positive discrimination, based on the Discrimination Characteristics as defined in section 4 of this policy, is encouraged to bring the matter to the attention of the Internal Complaint Committee at the earliest practical opportunity.


Inclusive Policies for Reaching Sky Foundation employees : Our workplace policies are designed to ensure that they are inclusive and cater to the requirements of all employees irrespective of their background. They play an important role in reinforcing a culture designed to ensure inclusion:


Prevention of Sexual Harassment: We promote a safe workplace environment which is embracive of diversity by implementing a zero tolerance policy towards sexual harassment. Our policy is applicable to all genders.


Parental Leave Policy: We offer equal parental leave to both mothers and fathers, going with the belief that both parents should have the opportunity to assume equal responsibility in the primary care of their children. The Parental Leave Policy also applies to non-birthing parents in cases of surrogacy, adoption, and same-sex partners


Period Leave Policy: While we offer equal opportunities to both women and men, we understand that women and men are born with different biological realities and might need additional support to ensure that biology does not interfere with them being able to fully utilize the opportunities available to them. Therefore, women, and transgenders in our organisation can avail up to 10 days of period leaves in a year


Medical Insurance Policy: In our continuous endeavour to enable the journey towards good health and well being for all employees and their families and to protect them from anything unexpected that may happen, our medical insurance policy is extended to spouse of the employees, live-in and/or same gender partner.


Discrimination, Harassment, and Bullying: We strive to maintain a healthy, safe and productive work environment that is free from discrimination or any form of harassment for all employees and external stakeholders. A trained Internal Committee has been constituted for timely and impartial resolution for any complaints that may arise in this regard.

Inclusive Leadership and Management :


Leader’s responsibility:

Leaders set the culture and tone of any organization, hence we deem it imperative that diversity and inclusion is valued and demonstrated by the leaders themselves

They are expected to display inclusive leadership behaviours, cultural intelligence, pay attention to diverse thinking, psychological safety, and focus on team cohesion


Manager’s responsibility:

It is the manager’s responsibility to create a discrimination-free work environment for the team and role model inclusivity

They are expected to identify breach of guidelines mentioned in the policy and take immediate appropriate action


Employee Responsibilities: Every employee at Reaching Sky Foundation is responsible for respecting the dignity and diversity of all other employees and creating an inclusive environment that is free from discrimination and harassment. All employees are also required to enhance their awareness of potential unconscious bias to be more inclusive and collaborative with one another. At the same time, they are expected to notify the HR team of any concerns with regard to the conduct of other employees.

Use of Inclusive Language: Inclusive language refers to language that raises no social stereotypes in relation to gender, race, age or body and avoids the use of words and/or phrases that create or maintain disadvantage or barriers for the people being referenced. To foster inclusive communication both internally and externally, we expect all employees to use inclusive language in all formal/ informal, written/ verbal communication, documents and policies and to avoid the use of discriminatory language. Usage of discriminatory language by employees which may be derogatory or offensive to certain individuals based on their race, religion, sex, gender, color, age, national origin and physical disability, is subject to strict disciplinary action.


Nature of Workplace Discrimination

Discrimination occurs when someone is treated unfavourably because of a certain attribute. Discrimination may involve some or all of the following:

  • Conduct that can be considered harassing, coercive or disruptive, including sexual harassment

  • Making offensive ‘jokes’ about another worker’s clan, ethnic background, colour, sex or disability

• Expressing negative stereotypes about particular groups

• Judging someone on their political or religious beliefs rather than their work performance.

• Using selection processes based on irrelevant attributes such as ethnic or clan group, age, sex or disability rather than on knowledge, skills and merit. Parameters of Discrimination – Strictly Prohibited


Grievance Redressal

Employees who believe they have been subjected or are being subjected to discrimination at Reaching Sky Foundation on the grounds of age, religion, sex, color, national origin, sexual orientation, and physical disability, may file a complaint by writing to the Internal Committee (IC), their respective HR POC, or to team@reachingsky.org.

All employees are assured that complaints will be addressed without delay and judiciously by the Human Resources team (hereinafter referred to as “HR team”) while upholding utmost confidentiality and sensitivity.

Process of redressal:

  • The HR team shall address the complaint within 3 (three) working days of receiving such a complaint

  • While addressing the grievance, the HR team will connect with the complainant and note down a detailed statement of complaint, investigate the facts and surrounding circumstances while reaching out to the individual against whom the complaint is raised and take testimonies of other relevant persons and review the evidence wherever necessary

  • The HR team shall be the responsible unit that ensures the filing and safekeeping of the records

  • The HR team will arrive at a decision after carefully and fairly reviewing the circumstances, evidence, and relevant statements. This will be followed by feedback to the complainant about what can, and cannot be done to resolve the grievance

  • The HR team will then take necessary follow-up action, recirculate and ensure closure of the case within 90 days of filing the complaint

The HR team will ensure that in the course of investigating a grievance both parties refrain from any form of threat, intimidation, or influencing of relevant persons involved. The investigation will be conducted in such a way as to maintain confidentiality to the extent practicable under the circumstances.


Decisions and Actions

Once the investigation is completed, a determination will be made regarding the validity of the discrimination allegations. If it is determined that discrimination has occurred, appropriate disciplinary action shall be taken against the respondent employee. Disciplinary action may include but is not limited to transfer, suspension, termination of employment and legal proceedings in appropriate courts/forums.

The HR team shall undertake the aforesaid process under the supervision of the Internal Committee.