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Equal Opportunities and Diversity Policy

Freedom From Abuse is committed to Equal Opportunities and the management of diversity. It is committed to fostering and promoting a workplace where people are treated with dignity and respect and where people are valued as individuals. We recognise that people with different backgrounds, skills, attitudes and experiences can bring fresh ideas and perceptions which can make our work more efficient and provide better services to a wider community. We are committed to ensuring employees maximise their potential and their contribution to the organisation.

Freedom From Abuse will ensure that it provides equality of opportunity in all aspects of employment and that no job applicant or employee is discriminated against on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation, spent criminal convictions, employment status or any other criterion not relevant to the point at issue. This principle applies to all aspects of employment, including pay, hours of work, holiday entitlement, work allocation, sick pay, pensions, recruitment, training, promotion, disciplinary and grievance matters and redundancy.

The aim of this policy is to communicate the commitment of the management to the promotion of equality of opportunity.  It is our policy to provide equality to all, irrespective of:

  • gender, including gender reassignment
  • marital or civil partnership status
  • having or not having dependents
  • religious belief or political opinion
  • race (including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, being an Irish traveller)
  • disability
  • sexual orientation
  • age

We are opposed to all forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination. All members of the organisation will be treated fairly and will not be discriminated against on any of the above grounds. Decisions on employment, training or any other benefit will be made objectively, without unlawful discrimination, and based on aptitude and ability.

We recognise that the provision of equal opportunities in all our activities will benefit the organisation. Our equal opportunities policy will help employees to develop their full potential and the talents and resources of the employees will be utilised fully to maximise the effectiveness of the organisation.

Freedom From Abuse recognises that there is a statutory duty under the NI Act 1998, to implement an equal opportunities policy. This policy applies to applicants for employment and volunteers alike.

Freedom From Abuse is committed to the principles and practice of Equality. Freedom From Abuse values the diversity of the local population. We want our services, facilities and resources to be accessible and useful to every citizen regardless of gender, age, ethnic origin, religious belief, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or any other individual characteristic which may unfairly affect a person’s opportunities in life.

Equality Commitments

We are committed to:

  • promoting equality of opportunity for all persons
  • promoting a good and harmonious learning environment in which all men and women are treated with respect and dignity and in which no form of intimidation or harassment is tolerated
  • preventing occurrences of unlawful direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation
  • fulfilling all our legal obligations under the equality legislation and associated codes of practice
  • complying with our own equal opportunities policy and associated policies
  • taking lawful affirmative or positive action, where appropriate
  • breaches of our equal opportunities policy will be regarded as misconduct and could  lead to termination of membership to our programmes

Recruitment

Freedom From Abuse will ensure that job descriptions and person specifications reflect the job and do not incorporate any stereotyping. Selection criteria will be reviewed to ensure that they are justifiable on non-discriminatory grounds as being essential for the effective performance of the job. When a new post is created or the job description for an existing post is substantially changed, the job description will be checked by the HR Director to ensure that it does not contain in-built prejudice.  Requirements as to length of service, physical characteristics, mobility, or other qualifications which could be in breach of this policy will be excluded.

All vacant posts will be advertised both internally and externally.  The minimum advertising for each position will consist of the website and Facebook as well as advertising through the press or other media is at the discretion of the manager responsible for recruiting to that post, but EA UK will not in any circumstances rely on word of mouth recruitment alone.

All advertisements will state Freedom From Abuse is committed to equal opportunities.

Freedom From Abuse aims to have a workforce that is representative of the communities from which it is drawn.   Where this is not the case it will take positive steps to improve the situation. This includes careful consideration of where and how it may be most effective to advertise vacant posts.

All applicants will be required to fill in a Freedom From Abuse application form.

Application forms will contain only questions relevant to the job applied for and will not ask unnecessary personal questions.

Application forms will seek to enable people to emphasise the positive aspects of their application, and will make it clear that life experience as well as formal qualifications and previous work experience is valid.

A brief statement of Freedom From Abuse Equal Opportunities Policy will form part of all job application forms.

Whenever applicants receive an application form they will also receive an Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form and a job description.  Job descriptions will include a person specification which will indicate the work experience, personal attributes, education qualifications and any other factors that are essential for the performance of the job.

Each applicant will be assessed against the job description and the person specification.  If managers have difficulty in assessing overseas academic qualifications they should contact the HR Team.

Freedom From Abuse will provide job descriptions on tape and disk when asked, and will do whatever else it can to facilitate applications from disabled people.

Freedom From Abuse is positive about employing disabled people and any disabled applicant that meets the minimum criteria as stated in the person specification will be invited to attend an interview.  Reasonable adjustments will be made to the assessment process to allow disabled people to demonstrate their abilities.

Freedom From Abuse is committed to taking positive action to ensure that groups who are oppressed or discriminated against are equally represented at all levels of employment within the organisation.

Work Life Balance and Flexible Working

EA UK recognises that work life balance policies can play a key role in allowing employees to combine work and family responsibilities and can enhance the equal opportunities of staff with family or caring responsibilities.

Requests to rearrange working conditions to take into account family or caring responsibilities from staff will be considered sympathetically by Freedom From Abuse.  Arrangements that may be considered would be part-time hours, job-sharing, working from home or allowing staff to work their hours flexibly.  It should be recognised that any requests for change will have to accommodate work priorities.

Freedom From Abuse recognises that flexible working can be a requirement for different people at different times and will therefore not dismiss any request for flexibility in working pattern without consideration and balancing of individual and business needs.

Implementation

The Management team have specific responsibility for the effective implementation of this policy. We expect all employees to abide by the policy and help to create the equality environment which is its objective.

In order to implement this policy we shall:

  • Communicate the policy to staff by issuing an induction pack to all existing, and new members
  • Freedom From Abuse will endeavour through appropriate training to ensure that it will not consciously, or unconsciously discriminate in the selection or recruitment of applicants for employment
  • Incorporate specific and appropriate duties in respect of implementing the equal opportunities policy into roles and responsibilities of staff
  • Incorporate equal opportunities notices into general communications practices (e.g. announcements, meeting, notices and newsletters. This policy will be read out to all staff at each annual general meeting
  • Ensure that adequate resources are made available to fulfil the objectives of the policy

Monitoring and review

We will establish appropriate information and monitoring systems to assist the effective implementation of our equal opportunities policy. The effectiveness of the equal opportunities policy will be reviewed regularly (at least annually) and action taken as necessary.

Freedom From Abuse is committed to monitoring to ensure effective implementation of the policy. In order to ensure that this policy is operating effectively (and for no other purpose), EA UK maintains records of applicants and employees’ ethnic origins and disability.

All information collected for monitoring will be treated as confidential and will be clearly separated from the process of selection of staff.

Annual monitoring will show the current staff profile with a breakdown by grade, programme, race, sex, age and disability.

Freedom From Abuse will ensure that any information gathered for the purpose of monitoring will only be used for monitoring and will be protected from misuse, in accordance with Data Protection laws.