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Employment

Equal opportunity law applies to full time, part time, casual, contract and voluntary work. It covers all stages of employment, from job advertisements, applications and offers of employment to promotions, training, transfers and dismissal.

Pregnant? "You might not have a job"

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Inge worked in a regional newspaper office.  Soon after finding out that she was pregnant, she suffered morning sickness so asked her supervisor, Royce, to end her shift two hours early.  Royce allowed this, but shortly afterwards the Acting General Manager, Barry, requested a meeting with Inge.  He told her that another casual would be employed in production, and there could be no guarantee of getting her job back after maternity leave.  Barry told her, "The paper needs someone more reliable, who can work all day.

Outcome: 
Through early negotiations, and without the need for a conciliation conference, a settlement was reached. The company gave Inge $1,500 for loss of income, and a verbal apology.

Livestock manager has job taken away after falling pregnant

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Jane was working as a livestock manager in a medium-sized country livestock business.  On discovering she was pregnant, her doctor recommended light duties for four weeks and to avoid administering medication to livestock.  She told her employer, Keith, and provided a doctor's certificate.

Outcome: 
At conciliation, Keith agreed to pay Jane $2,800 for loss of income and allow Jane to return to work after signing her clarified job description.

Sexuality slurs - 'dry humour' or discrimination?

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Kym worked in a metropolitan radio station.  He was being bullied at work about being gay, and it was affecting his health, causing depression, and suicidal feelings. He raised the issue with his manager and asked for action to be taken. 

Outcome: 
Kym reached a private settlement with the station, negotiated independently of the Commission after the conciliation conference.

Cleaners dismissed because of their sexuality

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Harry and Felix were dismissed from their cleaning job, and they felt it was because they are a gay couple.  The couple allege that their employer, Stephen, regularly brought up the topic of their sexuality in work conversations, then reduced their hours and told them they wouldn't be given older people's houses to clean.  They were told by another employee that Stephen did not want "people like them" registered with their company.

The men made a complaint of sexuality to the Commission.

Outcome: 
At conciliation, Stephen agreed to pay $350 to Harry and Felix for loss of income, and an undertaking that he train his employees.

Factory worker harassed and humiliated about perceived sexuality

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Nathan started a new job at a medium-sized factory in the suburbs.  A work colleague, Jed, called him "Gay boy" several times.  Jed also wrote, "I'm a gay boy xxxx" on the wall in Nathan's work booth.

Nathan spoke to his supervisor, who told him Jed had already been warned "plenty of times".  Jed continued to harass and humiliate Nathan, who finally decided to leave the factory and to make a complaint.

Outcome: 
At conciliation, the company apologised to Nathan and paid him $350 for injury to feelings and economic loss.

Carla's work injury blamed on her age and immaturity

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Carla's first job at 14 was in the deli section of a metropolitan supermarket.  After slicing her thumb on the meat slicer, she took some time off work.  Shortly after her return to work, Carla's supervisor told her that she should come back in another six to eight months when she was older and more mature.

Carla made a complaint to the Commission, alleging that the reason for her dismissal was the injury she sustained in the workplace, and that the reason given for her termination was her age.

Outcome: 
At conciliation, the complaint was resolved with $45 being paid to Carla, and a statement of service containing the period she worked and the duties she performed.

Reduced hours at supermarket because of age

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Leda had worked for a suburban supermarket since she was fifteen years old, and was now in her mid twenties.  She used to consistently receive 16 hours per week, however, over the last few years her hours had steadily reduced, despite new positions for juniors being advertised.

Outcome: 
At conciliation, the business provided her with a statement of service, a letter of regret, $900 for loss of income, and agreed to staff attendance at equal opportunity training.

Interviewer's attitude changes when age revealed

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At 50 years old, Ben applied for a position as a storeman with a large food retail store.  He alleged he was refused the job because of his age.

Outcome: 
At conciliation, the company agreed to remove the reference to date of birth from the "Identification Confirmation Form" used in their recruitment process.

Senior executive questioned about rumours of sexual relationships

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Judith was a senior executive with a health service.  She felt that she was subject to discrimination on the ground of sex when the chairperson of her Board, Ida, asked her questions about intimate relationships she was rumoured to have had with men that Ida knew, and made other comments to her of a personal nature.

Outcome: 
At conciliation, Ida provided Judith with a written apology. Also, mediation was arranged between her and Ida, and the service would comply with its policies and procedures that relate to equal opportunity and grievance handling. The organisation would not cite Judith's complaint as a cause of the relationship breakdown between she and Ida, and would not use the complaint in assessing her performance within the organisation.

Same-sex couple refused hotel manager jobs

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Kevin and Todd, in a same-sex relationship, applied for