EEO & Privacy

Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Privacy covers discrimination, privacy and associated topics such as harassment, bullying and victimisation.

There is federal and state legislation covering each of these topic areas.

This section provides you with information on the relevant legislation, including what constitutes unlawful discrimination and an overview of the General Protections under the Fair Work Act 2009.

EEO legislation

Most employers are subject to both Federal and State EEO legislation. Each state and territory has a separately administered tribunal and court system overseeing these laws. In addition, employees in any state or territory may use the Federal court and tribunal systems.

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How is an employer accountable under EEO law?

The law generally holds an employer responsible for discrimination or harassment that occurs in the workplace by its employees.

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How does discrimination occur?

Discrimination occurs if an employee is treated less favourably than other employees in the same or similar circumstances on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination (sex, age, race, etc). This is known as direct discrimination.

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When someone complains of discrimination

If an employee or job applicant lodges a complaint of discrimination or harassment with the employer, the complaint should be investigated to determine first, whether the facts as alleged are true and second, whether the facts constitute a breach of the relevant discrimination legislation.

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What are the General Protections?

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) prohibits an employer from taking 'adverse action' against an employee (and in some cases independent contractors or prospective employees) for certain reasons.

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What is a workplace right?

An employer is prohibited from taking adverse action against a person as a result of a person’s workplace right, the exercise or non-exercise of that right, or the person’s proposal to exercise or not exercise a workplace right in the future.

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What is adverse action?

'Adverse action' refers to action taken by an employer, employee, a contractor or an industrial association, and includes:

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What other protections exist under the Fair Work Act?

Among other protections, an employer must not take adverse action against an employee:

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What remedies are available for breaches of the general protections?

Where a person breaches the general protections provisions of the Fair Work Act, the remedies available to the court are wide and can include injunctions, compensation, reinstatement of a person, and financial penalties of up to $6,600 for individuals and $33,000 for corporations for each breach.

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Working with EEO documents

Probably the most immediate action an employer can take to show its commitment to EEO and a harassment-free work place is issue a policy statement. (Companies with 100 or more employees should already have in place a policy statement about equal opportunity for women in the workplace.

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What is privacy?

In the workplace setting, privacy relates to the collection of personal information from employees (and prospective employees) and the surveillance of employees. There is federal and state legislation covering privacy issues.

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Important points to note concerning privacy

In practical terms complying with the privacy legislation is likely to mean:

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Conduct & Performance | EEO & Privacy

Preventing sexual harassment [infographic]

By on 16th Mar 2018

Employers and the general public are becoming increasingly aware of the issue of sexual harassment in Australian workplaces. Download our infographic with the latest statistics and suggestions for preventing sexual harassment.