Equal employment opportunity is a concept that states everyone should have equal access to employment opportunities. This means that employers must not discriminate against the job applicant based on any of their personal attributes. Attributes may include race, sexual orientation, gender or ethnicity, for instance. Even sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.
This is an extremely important concept as it ensures that everybody has the access to same opportunities. It is an important principal in any egalitarian society. In this article, we will explore some key points in relation to equal employment opportunity in Australia.
Within the context of employment law, there are important legislations across various states of Australia that ensure equal employment opportunity policy for employment. Anti-discrimination laws also protect people from facing ill-treatment in workplaces due to some personal attributes. These includes laws like Australian Human Rights Commission Act (1986), and Sex Discrimination Act (1984).
The Fair Work Act (2009) states that employers cannot discriminate against their employers on the basis of the following attributes:
- gender identity
- sexual orientation
- intersex status
- physical disability
- mental disability
- family responsibilities
- carer’s responsibilities
- marital status
- political opinion
- social origin
- national extraction
Equal Employment Opportunity: Key Legislations
While there are federal laws that protect people against discrimination and ensure they get equal employment opportunity, there are some some state-level laws as well. The federal laws in relation to equal employment opportunity include:
- Disability Discrimination Act (1992)
- Age Discrimination Act (2004)
- Sex Discrimination Act (1984)
- Racial Discrimination Act (1975)
Additionally, each state and territory of Australia has their own anti-discrimination laws. In the list below, we outline the legislation relevant to equal employment opportunity in various states and territories:
|New South Wales||Anti-discrimination Act 1977|
|Victoria||Equal Opportunity Act 2010|
|Queensland||Anti-discrimination Act 1991|
|Western Australia||Equal Opportunity Act (1984)|
|South Australia||Equal Opportunity Act (1984)|
|Tasmania||Anti-discrimination Act (1998)|
|Australian Capital Territory||Discrimination Act (1991)|
|Northern Territory||Anti-discrimination Act 1992|
Direct Versus Indirect Discrimination in the Workplace
Note that not all discrimination may be direct. For instance, while being rejected for employment because of your race is a direct form of discrimination, some workplaces may introduce policies that may indirectly discriminate against certain groups of people who work there.
Let’s consider the following examples. Imagine that Claire gets paid significantly lesser than her colleague Mark. Claire and Mark have the same job titles, and carry out the same level of responsibilities. However, she is paid lower on the basis of her gender, and this becomes a direct form of discrimination.
On the other hand, consider the following example to better understand indirect discrimination. Let’s suppose that Amanda has moved to Australia from Hungary. She wishes to apply for an IT role, which requires work experience. She has the necessary work experience. However, the role also requires Australian qualification.
Since she has moved from Hungary, although she is qualified, she does not have a specific Australian qualification. This is an example of indirect discrimination and such polices do not respect the principle of equal employment opportunity.
How Can Employment Lawyers Help You With Discrimination Matters?
Employment lawyers can assist you with discrimination matters in several ways:
- Legal Advice: They can provide guidance on whether you have a valid discrimination claim based on your situation and applicable laws.
- Documentation: They can help you gather and organise evidence, such as emails, witnesses, or workplace policies, to support your case.
- Filing Complaints: They can assist in filing discrimination complaints with relevant government.
- Negotiations: They can negotiate with your employer or the opposing party for a settlement or resolution that addresses your concerns.
- Litigation: If necessary, they can represent you in court, presenting your case and advocating for your rights.
- Compliance: Employment lawyers can ensure that you follow the proper legal procedures and deadlines throughout the process.
- Compensation: They can help you pursue remedies such as back pay, damages, or reinstatement, depending on the nature of the discrimination.
Consulting with an employment lawyer can be crucial for navigating discrimination matters and protecting your rights in the workplace.
Contact Our Employment Lawyers For More Information on Equal Employment Opportunities
Discrimination in the workplace is a serious matter. Anyone facing this issue must be aware that they have rights and entitlements to protect themselves against discrimination in the workplace. Our team of employment lawyers can help job applicants and employees take necessary legal actions if they have faced discrimination on the basis of personal attributes.
It is important to prevent discrimination and harassment that can disadvantage employees. We must always uphold anti discrimination law. It is important to respect the equal employment opportunity principle and workplace diversity in Australia. This ensures that our society remains free of such problems, and upholds the principle of equality.
If you need legal advice for any issue, do not hesitate to contact our team of lawyers. For more information, contact our team today.