Lentil As Anything Policy


Welcome to Lentil as Anything! We are a not-for-profit organisation that relies solely on the generosity of patrons, volunteers and community. We believe in the power of humanity to create incredible change, and by signing on as a volunteer you are now a part of that change!

Our unique financial model, allowing patrons to pay whatever they can afford, is centred on the values of trust, generosity and respect. This gives people the opportunity to eat out and be social regardless of their financial situation. We aim to be a welcoming space for people of all genders, sexualities, ethnicities, faiths and abilities. Why do we do this? Because everyone has a right to feel valued and respected. People are so often divided in our society, and we hope to bring people back together.

“Lentil As Anything Policy” will provide some background into the guiding principles of Lentil as Anything. It will also cover your rights and responsibilities as a member of our community when you put on one of our iconic red aprons. If you have any questions at all about the content of this Policy and Procedure manual, do not hesitate to get in contact with the Volunteer Coordinator at volunteers@lentilasanything.com.

Our History

The Lentil as Anything model has been working successfully since 2001, with three long-standing restaurants in Melbourne - Abbotsford Convent, St Kilda and Thornbury- and one in Newtown, Sydney. In 2007 the founder and current President, Shanaka Fernando, won Australia's "Local Hero of the Year", part of the Australia day awards.

Our Mission & Values

Our Mission

  • Caring for people: Provide a wholesome and nutritious meal where money is not a concern.

  • Promoting multiculturalism: Fostering an environment of inclusion and not exclusion.

  • Reforming society: Acting on the structures of society to restore justice.

  • Extending/Spreading its ethos and values: Hiring volunteers, the long-term unemployed and the marginalised.

  • Encouraging: Young people to be active citizens and get involved in community based initiatives

Our Values

  • Human Dignity: Respecting the sanctity of life and affirm the worth and capacity of all people.

  • Justice: Acting with integrity and fairness, without discrimination, and being an advocate for the disadvantaged by managing all resources responsibly.

  • Hope: Work for reconciliation, healing and transformation of all people. Providing training to new migrants, refugees and youth.

  • Compassion: Engaging others in the spirit of inclusion and addressing their needs.

  • Community: Owning our common humanity as we engage with people, working and journeying together, for mutual capacity building.


The security of the staff and volunteers are paramount to Lentil as Anything. Staff and volunteers are encouraged to speak to the Restaurant Manager, Volunteer Co-ordinator, Floor Managers or Volunteer Mentors if they feel that the restaurant is not providing a wholly safe working environment. Lentil as Anything is a compassionate organisation, allowing people in the restaurant of all physical and mental conditions. However, threats to security will not be tolerated and will be acted upon as soon as they are made known.

Physical threats

Physically threatening behaviour will not be tolerated from staff, volunteers or patrons. This includes, but is not limited to;

  • Pushing or striking

  • Verbal abuse

  • Standing over another person

  • Shouting or aggressive speech

  • Intimidation

Lentil as Anything reserves the right to ban permanently any staff, volunteer or patron that acts in a physically threatening way. Other potential actions may include; official warnings, mediation or filing a police report (if warranted by the severity of the physical behaviour).

Personal items

Staff and volunteers should avoid bringing valuable personal items to Lentils to store while they are on shift. While Lentil as Anything will take every effort to secure personal items, the restaurant will not be held responsible for personal items that go missing or are damaged within the restaurant. The responsibility for these items remains with the staff member or volunteer. Small valuables such as a wallet or phone should be kept on one’s person.

Signing in to shifts

All volunteers must ensure that they have signed in to their shift on the official staff and volunteer roster. This is important as our insurance requires there to be an active record of the volunteers who are signed in to each shift. For rostered staff, signing in is automatic, however, any automatic, however, any changes to staff rostering should be marked on the official roster.

Common Amenities

Music system


Music must be played at an appropriate volume as to not put the ambiance of the restaurant off balance.

It is understood that kitchen staff in particular have a demanding job, and the music system plays a big role in making their job more enjoyable. While we should be encouraging a fun working environment, both kitchen and floor staff need to be aware that this is ultimately a restaurant, and one with diverse patronage and staffing. In particular, Lentils prides itself on being an inclusive space for people of all psychological and physical conditions. That the staff’s music selections should be slightly curbed to respect this fact should be no great imposition.

Of course, agreement will never be reached on what constitutes good music for the purpose of creating the lentils atmosphere, and this code of conduct should not be seen as prescriptive. However, common sense dictates that certain types of music have a greater potential to impact patrons negatively. In particular, it is when music is loud, fast or aggressive.

Purpose of sound system

The sound system at Lentils is for the usage of staff and volunteers to (i) provide an appropriate atmosphere for the patrons during service times and (ii) provide a fun and welcoming working environment for the staff and volunteers during non-service times. Music selection should be shared by the kitchen and floor staff.

Music during service times

Music should be considered from the perspective of the patrons enjoying a casual meal. Music from various cultures are encouraged, and where possible should be kept up-beat and light to accompany a meal. Trance, grunge, metal, hard rock, club (dance) should be avoided.

Music during non-service times: Some extra leverage is allowed here, but please be considerate of other volunteers and staff. Volumes at all times should be kept so that the music is in the background rather than the foreground. AS A GENERAL RULE, DO NOT PLAY MUSIC THAT IS VERY LOUD, FAST OR AGGRESSIVE AT ANY TIME.

Café Area

The café area is restricted to staff and volunteers that are signed in ON SHIFT. Staff and volunteers must be wearing an apron or a nametag at the very least. Any staff or volunteers who come to lentils for a meal only must do as the patrons do; line up or order with a staff member and allow the floor staff to bring you meals and drinks. Why?? Well unfortunately, due to the large number of volunteers at Lentils, some of the volunteers on shift will not recognise you and they would be unsettled by your presence in the café area or by you helping yourself to teas and drinks. It might also give regular patrons the idea that they can just help themselves.

Coffee machine

Usage of the coffee machine during a shift is limited to the designated volunteer barista(s) for that shift. The coffee machine is extremely valuable to the restaurant and baristas are given particular guidelines to look after the machine and protect the machine from damage.

If a staff member has gone through the barista training and would like to make a coffee for themselves before or after a shift, they may do so only with the permission of the cafe manager.

Food Without Borders Area

The large space in the back of the Thornbury restaurant is an area for conducting the food rescue program in the form of a supermarket. Entry to space may be used for volunteer duties (such as laundry) but exclusive access will not be granted to the area for those unauthorized. Staff and volunteers seeking breaks or time out are encouraged to use the staff room or dining areas. Please use common sense and be respectful to patrons and community members who may be using the area for a group meeting or event.

Dress Code Policy

Lentil as Anything’s objective in establishing a safe and comfortable environment includes setting some standards for a dress code within the restaurant. This allows Lentils to maintain a safe working space and project a professional image to foster trust within our community.

Wearing the Lentil as Anything apron

All staff and volunteers are required to wear an apron while on their shift. Kitchen staff are required to wear a black or navy apron while floor staff are required to wear a red apron or a denim apron if they are in the café. This is important for two reasons;

  1. It identifies the person as a volunteer or staff to other volunteers and staff. This is crucial for security, and can give all staff confidence that areas restricted to staff and volunteers are indeed only accessed by staff and volunteers.

  2. It identifies the person as a volunteer or staff member to patrons. Not only does this promote a recognisable and approachable “brand” for Lentil as Anything, but it gives our customers the reassurance that the restaurant is being run professionally.

  3. It is hygenic.

Prohibited clothing

For safety reasons, staff and volunteers must wear fully covered footwear at all times. Staff and volunteers are legally required to have sleeved shirts (covered armpits) while in the kitchen, and are advised to wear shoes with reasonable tread to avoid slipping in an environment with hot surfaces.

Internet & Social Media Policies

Taking photos within the restaurant

Lentil As Anything appreciates the role that social media plays in raising awareness for the restaurant and events. However, please be aware that if you intend to include a person in the photo, you must ask that person’s permission and alert them to the intention to post on social media. To photograph elements of the restaurant itself, permission must be granted by the manager on duty, as well as any people in the photo. It is also good practice to inform the floor manager if you intend to take photos of the food for social media or blogs.

Private / Personal Use of Social Media

All employees, volunteers and partners of Lentil as Anything must also refrain from posting, sending, forwarding or using, in any way, any inappropriate material including but not limited to material which:

  • is intended to (or could possibly) cause insult, offence, intimidation or humiliation to Lentil as Anything or its staff or volunteers;

  • is defamatory or could adversely affect the image, reputation or viability of Lentil as Anything; and/or

  • contains any form of confidential information relating to Lentil as Anything, or its staff and volunteers

All staff and volunteers of Lentil As Anything must comply with this policy. Any breach of this policy will be treated as a serious matter and may result in disciplinary action including termination of employment or (for volunteers) a banning from volunteering at the restaurant.

For the purposes of this policy, the following definitions apply:

Social Media includes all internet-based publishing technologies. Most forms of Social Media are interactive, allowing authors, readers and publishers to connect and interact with one another. The published material can often be accessed by anyone. Forms of Social Media include, but are not limited to, social or business networking sites (i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn), video and/or photo sharing websites (i.e. YouTube, Flickr), business/corporate and personal blogs, micro-blogs (i.e. Twitter), chat rooms and forums and/or Social Media.

Sexual and personal harassment

Lentil as Anything has a zero tolerance policy with respect to sexual and personal harassment. Harassment in any form is strictly prohibited and may be grounds for termination as a volunteer, or, in the case of an employee, immediate dismissal.

Sexual harassment definition

It should be noted that sexual harassment is not only against Lentil as Anything policy, but it is also against the law. The Sex Discrimination Act 1984 [Cth] and the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 [NSW] both define the term ‘sexual harassment’ in exactly the same way:

Sexual harassment occurs when a person:

  • makes an unwelcome sexual advance;

  • makes an unwelcome request for sexual favours; or

  • engages in any other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature towards another person and a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would have anticipated that the other person would be offended, humiliated, or intimidated.

Sexual harassment may include:

  • staring or leering

  • unnecessary familiarity, such as brushing against a person or unwelcome touching

  • suggestive comments or jokes

  • insults or taunts of a sexual nature

  • intrusive questions or statements about a person’s private life

  • displaying posters of a sexual nature

  • sending sexually explicit emails or text messages

  • inappropriate advances on social networking sites

  • accessing sexually explicit internet sites

  • requests for sex or repeated unwanted requests to go out on dates

  • behaviour that may also be considered to be an offence under criminal law, such as physical assault, indecent exposure sexual assault, stalking or obscene communications.

By law, Lentil as Anything must outline the legal basis for action against sexual harassment, and the following legalise relates to that requirement:

Sexual harassment can occur where the conduct is directed at a limited class of people, e.g. employees. There is no material difference in the case of conduct directed at customers or potential customers. Once a person chooses to engage in conduct of a sexual nature in which another person, whether the intended target or not, who has not sought or invited the conduct, experiences offence, humiliation or intimidation and, in the circumstances, a reasonable person may would have anticipated that reaction, the elements of sexual harassment are made out. See Graincorp Operations Limited and Anor re S Markham [2002] AIRCFB — PR924103; Johanson v Michael Blackledge Meats [2001] FMCA 6.

Sexual harassment is also a category of inappropriate action by an employer, be it direct action by the employer or inadequate investigation of alleged sexual harassment in the workplace by another employee, with respect to a claim of unlawful dismissal.

According to Australian law, Lentil as Anything may be held vicariously liable if a case of sexual harassment is made out.

Personal harassment definition

Personal harassment means any conduct whether verbal or physical that is discriminating in nature, based upon another person’s race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, political beliefs, religion, marital status, physical or mental disability, sex, age or sexual orientation. It is discriminatory behaviour, directed at an individual, that is unwanted or unwelcome and causes substantial distress in that person and serves no legitimate work-related purpose.

Procedure for notification and complaint

Note: it is a legal requirement for employers in VIC to put in place an internal procedure for dealing with sexual harassment complaints. By law, a complainant of sexual harassment can also lodge a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Complaints of sexual or personal harassment can be made to any staff member, though it is recommended to approach the volunteer coordinator at first instance. The complainant may request that their complaint is kept confidential and the receiver should honour this. The course of action taken should be directed by the complainant. With the consent of the complainant, the offender will be notified that a complaint has been lodged against them.

If remedial action against the offender is requested by the complainant, the offender will be notified of the specific events giving rise to the complaint against them and will be offered the opportunity to provide a statement. In the event that a reasonable person could conclude clear evidence of sexual or personal harassment against the offender, the offender will be discharged of their role at Lentil as Anything and asked not to return to the restaurant. In the event that that a reasonable person would conclude that the evidence against the offender is unclear, secondary solutions may be sought such as; ensuring that the two staff or volunteers do not overlap on shifts.

Affection between consenting staff and volunteers

Lentil as Anything is ultimately a place of work. Staff and volunteers are required to display a degree of professionalism while within the restaurant, as would be required from any other place of work. Lentils understands that staff may engage in relationships outside of the restaurant, however affection within the restaurant should be limited to that which would be appropriate between co-workers. As a general rule, if you wouldn’t be comfortable directing a particular gesture of affection to all members of staff, then the gesture of affection is not appropriate for the workplace.

Furthermore, Lentil as Anything welcomes customers, volunteers and staff from all cultures and respects that people from some cultures may not feel comfortable with overt displays of physical affection in public. Individuals may also have had life experiences that increases their sensitivity to physical contact. It should be no significant imposition to suggest that staff or volunteers that wish to engage in affection beyond that which is professionally appropriate can do so anywhere else they’d like.

Drugs and medication

It is a legal requirement that Lentils can not administer any drugs or medication to staff or volunteers beyond topical treatments available in the first aid kit. This includes paracetamol and anti-inflammatories. Staff and volunteers are required to bring their own medications if they require it.

Regarding alcohol and illicit drugs, Lentil as Anything is concerned by factors affecting an employee’s ability to safely and effectively do their work to a satisfactory standard. The business recognises alcohol or other drug abuse can impair short-term or long-term work performance and is an occupational health and safety risk.

Lentil as Anything will do its utmost to create and maintain a safe, healthy and productive workplace for all employees. Lentil as Anything has a zero-tolerance policy in regard to the use of illicit drugs on their premises or the attending of other business-related premises (e.g. clients) while under the influence of illicit drugs. Contravening either of these points may lead to instant dismissal.

Lentil as Anything does not tolerate attending work under the influence of alcohol. This may result in performance improvement action or dismissal.

Code of Conduct Policy


This policy affirms Lentil as Anything’s belief in responsible social and ethical behaviour from all employees. This policy clarifies the standards of behaviour that Lentil as Anything expects of all employees.

Policy for all staff and volunteers

Our Code of Conduct policy applies to all employees and volunteers and provides the framework of principles for conducting business, dealing with other employees, Clients and suppliers. The Code of Conduct does not replace legislation and if any part of it is in conflict, then legislation takes precedence. This policy is based on the following:

  • Act and maintain a high standard of integrity and professionalism

  • Be responsible and scrupulous in the proper use of Company information, funds, equipment and facilities

  • Be considerate and respectful of the environment and others

  • Exercise fairness, equality, courtesy, consideration and sensitivity in dealing with other employees, clients and suppliers

  • Avoid apparent conflict of interests, promptly disclosing to a staff member, any interest which may constitute a conflict of interest

  • Promote the interests of Lentil as Anything

  • Perform duties with honesty, care and diligence

  • Abide by policies, procedures and lawful directions that relate to your employment with Lentil as Anything and/or our Clients

  • Avoid the perception that any transaction may be influenced by offering or accepting gifts

  • Under no circumstances may employees offer or accept money

  • Any employee, who in good faith, raises a complaint or discloses an alleged breach of the Code, whilst following correct reporting procedures, will not be disadvantaged or prejudiced. All reports will be dealt with in a timely and confidential manner.

Volunteer rights and responsibilities

Lentil As Anything recognises the critical importance of volunteers to the ongoing viability of the restaurant. The following list of volunteer rights are provided by Volunteering Australia and are recognised by Lentil As Anything.

As a volunteer you have the right:

  • to work in a healthy and safe environment (refer various Occupational Health and Safety Act[s]);

  • to be interviewed and engaged in accordance with equal opportunity and anti-discrimination legislation;

  • to be adequately covered by insurance;

  • to be given accurate and truthful information about the organisation for which you are working;

  • to be reimbursed for out of pocket expenses;

  • to be given a copy of the organisations volunteer policy and any other policy that affects your work;

  • not to fill a position previously held by a paid worker;

  • not to do the work of paid staff during industrial disputes;

  • to have a job description and agreed working hours;

  • to have access to a grievance procedure;

  • to be provided with orientation to the organisation;

  • to have your confidential and personal information dealt with in accordance with the principles of the Privacy Act 1988; and

  • to be provided with sufficient training to do your job.

Conflict of interest

Conflict of interest arises whenever the personal, professional or business interests of an employee are potentially at odds with the best interests of Lentil as Anything. All employees are required to act in good faith. Employees need to be aware of the potential for a conflict of interest to arise and should always act in the best interests of Lentil As Anything.

As individuals, employees may have private interests that from time to time conflict, or appear to conflict, with their employment with Lentil As Anything. Employees should aim to avoid being put in a situation where there may be a conflict between the interests of Lentil As Anything and their own personal or professional interests, or those of relatives or friends. Where such a conflict occurs (or is perceived to occur), the interests of Lentil As Anything will be balanced against the interests of the staff member and, unless exceptional circumstances exist, resolved in favour of Lentil As Anything.

It is impossible to define all potential areas of conflict of interest. If an employee is in doubt if a conflict exists, they should raise the matter with their manager.


Employees must:

  • declare any potential, actual or perceived conflicts of interest that exist on becoming employed by Lentil As Anything to management

  • declare any potential, actual or perceived conflicts of interest that arise or are likely to arise during employment by Lentil As Anything to management

  • avoid being placed in a situation where there is potential, actual or perceived conflict of interest if at all possible

If an employee declares such an interest, Lentil As Anything will review the potential areas of conflict with the employee and mutually agree on practical arrangements to resolve the situation.

Employees must disclose any other employment that might cause a conflict of interest with Lentil As Anything to their manager. Where there are external involvements that do not represent a conflict of interest, these must not affect performance or attendance whilst working at Lentil As Anything. If such involvement does affect performance or attendance it will be considered a conflict of interest.

Employees must not set up or engage in private business or undertake other employment in direct or indirect competition with Lentil As Anything using knowledge and/or materials gained during the course of employment with Lentil As Anything.

Engaging in other business interests during work hours will result in strong performance improvement action. Failure to declare a potential, actual or perceived conflict of interest or to take remedial action agreed with Lentil As Anything, in a timely manner, may result in performance improvement proceedings including dismissal.

Occupational Health & Safety


Lentil as Anything will, as far as practicable, provide a safe work environment for the health, safety and welfare of our staff, volunteers, visitors and members of the public.

To do this, Lentil as Anything will:

  • develop and maintain safe systems of work, and a safe working environment

  • consult with employees and health and safety reps on safety

  • provide protective clothing and equipment, and enforce its use

  • provide information and training for employees

  • assess all risks before work starts on new areas of operation, for example, buying new equipment and setting up new work methods, and regularly review these risks

  • remove unacceptable risks to safety

  • provide employees and contractors with adequate facilities (such as clean toilets, cool and clean drinking water, and hygienic eating areas)

Ultimately, everyone at the workplace is responsible for ensuring health and safety at that workplace.

All persons responsible for the work activities of other employees are accountable for:

  • identifying practices and conditions that could injure employees, clients, members of the public or the environment

  • controlling such situations or removing the risk to safety. If unable to control such practices and conditions, report these to their manager

  • making sure workers use personal protective equipment (PPE), training workers to use PPE correctly

  • making sure PPE is maintained and working properly

Lentil as Anything demands a positive, proactive attitude and performance with respect to protecting health, safety and the environment by all employees, irrespective of their position.

Manual handling policy

It is Lentil as Anything’s policy to provide all employees with a safe and healthy workplace by identifying, assessing and controlling manual handling risks.

While management is responsible for the health, safety and welfare of all staff, all employees must report potential and actual manual handling hazards.

Never lift or manually handle items larger or heavier than you can easily support. If you are in any doubt, do not hesitate to ask for help.

Workers’ compensation policy

All employees may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if injured while at work.

Injury procedure

If there is an injury:

  1. The first priority is medical attention. The injured worker or nearest colleague should contact one of Lentil as Anything’s first aiders. For a serious injury also call an ambulance.

  2. Any employee who is injured on the job, experiences a safety incident or a near miss, must write an incident report.

  3. The manager must write a report in the Register of Injuries, Incidents and Near Misses. This standard report must include:

    • employee’s name and job details

    • time and date of injury

    • exact location the injury/incident occurred

    • how the injury/incident happened

    • details of the injury/illness and the part/s of the body injured

    • names of any witnesses

    • name of the person entering details in the Register

    • date the employer was notified

  4. Lentil as Anything will let the injured employee know in writing that we have

  5. received notification of any injury or illness reported in the Register.

The manager must report serious injuries to WorkSafe immediately.