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What is Workplace Discrimination?

Workplace discrimination is where an employee is treated less favourably than another person in a hurtful, degrading, demeaning and unfair manner within the workplace because of reasons such as, but not limited to:

  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Family responsibilities
  • Religion

Often, workplace discrimination occurs when an employer takes adverse action (such as dismissing an employee or treating the employee unfairly) based on the above characteristics of the employee.

Am I protected?

Discrimination of an employee by an employer is unlawful. Any employee is protected, despite their employment status (full-time, part-time, casual etc.)

If you feel you have been discriminated against by your employer, you may be able to initiate a claim against them with the Fair Work Commission or Ombudsman. We recommend obtaining legal advice to ensure you receive all the correct information about workplace discrimination.

I have been dismissed due to discriminatory grounds, what can I do?

There are both statutory and common law remedies avenues available. If you believe you have been terminated based on discriminatory grounds, you will need to lodge an application with the Fair Work Commission within 21 days.

What is workplace bullying?

Workplace bullying is repeated, and unreasonable behaviour directed towards an employee or a group of employees that creates a risk to their health and safety. This could include intimidation, humiliation, or victimisation of an employee.

Everyone has the right to work in an environment free from bullying, harassment, discrimination and violence. Protections are provided to employees under state and federal anti-discrimination law as well as under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). Employees who may have experienced discrimination and/or bullying in the workplace should seek advice regarding the options available to them.

Bullying should not be confused with reasonable action taken by management, such as disciplinary action, control over the way in which work is carried out and decisions about performance.

Am I protected?

The anti-bullying laws cover most workplaces, and hence, most employees. It also covers volunteers, contractors, work experience students and outworkers.

I feel as though I have been bullied, who can I contact?

If you have been bullied or harassed, you could reach out to the appropriate internal manager or human resources department within the organisation you work in. If matters are not resolved internally or you wish to take matters further, you could obtain legal advice and lodge an application with the Fair Work Commission.

How can Coutts assist you?

Our dedicated team at Coutts can assist employees with workplace bullying and discrimination claims. Karena Nicholls is the head of Coutts Employment division and she and her team of employment law specialists understand the sensitive nature of workplace bullying and discrimination. We recognise this process can be burdensome and highly stressful and our team are here to provide the support you need. Contact us today!

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