Equal Opportunities Policy

FARA Charity Shops is committed to promoting equality of opportunity for all staff and job applicants. We aim to create a working environment in which all individuals are able to make best use of their skills, free from discrimination or harassment, and in which all decisions are based on merit.

FARA Charity Shops does not discriminate against staff on the basis of age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation (“protected characteristics”).

The principles of non-discrimination and equality of opportunity also apply to the way in which staff treat visitors, clients, customers, suppliers, and former staff members.

All staff have a duty to act in accordance with this policy and treat colleagues with dignity at all times, and not to discriminate against or harass other members of staff, regardless of their status. Your attention is drawn to FARA Charity Shops separate Anti-Harassment and Bullying Policy.

Management and Recruitment

FARA Charity Shops will bring this policy to the attention of all staff and any Managers will be made aware of their obligations in respect of equal opportunities.

If you are involved in management or recruitment, or if you have any questions about the content or application of this policy, you should contact FARA Charity Shop’s Head Office to request training or further information.

Scope and Purpose of the Policy

This policy applies to all aspects of our relationship with staff and to relations between staff members at all levels. This includes job advertisements, recruitment and selection, training and development, opportunities for promotion, conditions of service, pay and benefits, conduct at work, disciplinary and grievance procedures, and termination of employment.

FARA Charity Shops will take appropriate steps to accommodate the requirements of different religions, cultures, and domestic responsibilities.

Forms of Discrimination

Discrimination by or against an employee is generally prohibited unless there is a specific legal exemption. Discrimination may be direct or indirect and it may occur intentionally or unintentionally.

Direct discrimination occurs where someone is treated less favourably because of one or more of the protected characteristics set out above. For example, rejecting an applicant on the grounds of their race because they would not “fit in” would be direct discrimination.

Indirect discrimination occurs where someone is disadvantaged by an unjustified provision, criterion or practice that also puts other people with the same protected characteristic at a particular disadvantage. For example, a requirement to work full time puts women at a particular disadvantage because they generally have greater childcare commitments than men. Such a requirement will need to be objectively justified.

Harassment related to any of the protected characteristics is prohibited. Harassment is unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating someone’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them. Harassment is dealt with further in FARA Charity Shops Anti-Harassment and Bullying Policy.

Victimisation is also prohibited. This is less favourable treatment of someone who has complained or given information about discrimination or harassment or supported someone else’s complaint.

Recruitment and Selection

FARA Charity Shops aim to ensure that no job applicant suffers discrimination because of any of the protected characteristics above. Our recruitment procedures are reviewed regularly to ensure that individuals are treated on the basis of their relevant merits and abilities. Job selection criteria are reviewed to ensure that they are relevant to the job and are not disproportionate.

Job advertisements should avoid stereotyping or using wording that may discourage particular groups from applying.

FARA Charity Shops will take steps to ensure that our vacancies are advertised to a diverse labour market.

Applicants should not be asked about health or disability before a job offer is made. There are limited exceptions which should only be used with a Director’s approval. For example:

  1. Questions necessary to establish if an applicant can perform an intrinsic part of the job (subject to any reasonable adjustments).
  2. Questions to establish if an applicant is fit to attend an assessment or any reasonable adjustments that may be needed at interview or assessment.
  3. Positive action to recruit disabled persons.
  4. Equal opportunities monitoring (which will not form part of the decision-making process).

Applicants should not be asked about past or current pregnancy or future intentions related to pregnancy. Applicants should not be asked about matters concerning age, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, or gender reassignment without the approval of a director (who should first consider whether such matters are relevant and may lawfully be taken into account).

FARA Charity Shops are required by law to ensure that all employees are entitled to work in the UK. Assumptions about immigration status should not be made based on appearance or apparent nationality. All prospective staff, regardless of nationality, must be able to produce original documents (such as a passport) before employment starts, to satisfy current immigration legislation. The list of acceptable documents is available from the UK Border Agency.

Conditions of Service

FARA Charity Shops conditions of service, benefits and facilities are reviewed to ensure that they are available to all staff who should have access to them and that there are no unlawful obstacles to accessing them.

Termination of Employment

FARA Charity Shops will ensure that redundancy criteria and procedures are fair and objective and are not directly or indirectly discriminatory.

FARA Charity Shops will also ensure that disciplinary procedures and penalties are applied without discrimination, whether they result in disciplinary warnings, dismissal, or other disciplinary action.

Disability Discrimination

If you are disabled or become disabled, FARA Charity Shops encourage you to tell us about your condition so that we can support you as appropriate.

If you experience difficulties at work because of your disability, you may wish to contact your Line Manager to discuss any reasonable adjustments that would help overcome or minimise the difficulty. Your Line Manager may wish to consult with you and your medical adviser(s) about possible adjustments. We will consider the matter carefully and try to accommodate your needs within reason. If we consider a particular adjustment would not be reasonable we will explain our reasons and try to find an alternative solution where possible.

FARA Charity Shops will monitor the physical features of our premises to consider whether they place disabled workers, job applicants or service users at a substantial disadvantage compared to other staff. Where reasonable, we will take steps to improve access for disabled staff and service users.

Fixed-term and Part-time Employees

FARA Charity Shops monitor our use of fixed-term and part-time employees, and their conditions of service, to ensure that they are being offered appropriate access to benefits, training, promotion, and permanent employment opportunities. We will, where relevant, monitor their progress to ensure that they are accessing permanent vacancies.

Breaches of the Policy

If you believe that you may have been discriminated against you are encouraged to raise the matter through our Grievance Procedure. If you believe that you may have been subject to harassment you are encouraged to raise the matter through FARA Charity Shops’ Anti-Harassment and Bullying Policy. If you are uncertain which applies or need advice on how to proceed you should speak to FARA Charity Shops’ HR Director Felicia Balasel, on 020 8973 0910 or by email to felicia@faracharity.org

Allegations regarding potential breaches of this policy will be treated in confidence and investigated in accordance with the relevant procedure. Staff who make such allegations in good faith will not be victimised or treated less favourably as a result. False allegations which are found to have been made in bad faith will, however, be dealt with under FARA Charity Shops’ Disciplinary Procedure.

Any member of staff who is found to have committed an act of discrimination or harassment will be subject to disciplinary action. Such behaviour may constitute gross misconduct and, as such, may result in summary dismissal. FARA Charity Shops take a strict approach to serious breaches of this policy.