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Home > News > 2019 > February > Are you treated differently in the workplace?

Are you treated differently in the workplace?

Topics : Equity

Discrimination_web_qual.pngUnder no circumstances should employers, or staff members, be engaged in discriminatory practices in our schools.

Unfortunately some members continue to report discriminatory treatment in the workplace. 

This discriminatory treatment can take many forms including being given less preferential classes for no justifiable reason, being victims of workplace bullying, being overlooked for promotions due to factors other than their capacity or capability or for more mature members, being targeted by management and encouraged into retirement.

Employers must comply with antidiscrimination legislation

Employers are obligated to prevent and eliminate discrimination, as defined by the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 and the Fair Work Act 2009, which includes:

  1. discrimination on the basis of sex, marital status, family responsibilities, pregnancy, parental status, age, race, impairment, religion, political belief or activity, trade union activity, lawful sexual activity and association with, or relation to, a person identified on the basis of any of the above attributes;
  2. sexual harassment; and
  3. racial and religious vilification.

It is also unlawful to victimise an employee because they have made, may make or have been involved in a complaint of discrimination or harassment.

Exemptions

As revealed by the media in early October 2018, the Ruddock review recommended to the coalition government an amendment to the federal Sex Discrimination Act to maintain a right for religious schools to discriminate against staff “on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status” provided the policy is advertised.

This is unacceptable in our current society.

We welcome attempts by other political parties to widen the scope of legislation to make discrimination against employees also illegal.

Our union remains steadfast in its support of our members’ rights to teach and work in safe environments free from discrimination.

At a recent Senate committee hearing regarding the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Removing Discrimination Against Students) Bill 2018, IEUA Federal Secretary Chris Watt reiterated this, stating that our union’s concern regarding the current proposed legislation is that it “does not resolve a range of significant issues that exist in schools for many of our members”.

“The [proposed] legislation not only does not go far enough but provides for a potential hypocrisy, shall we say, in the way that we approach these matters.

“Unless there is equality for all then there is no equality at all,” Mr Watt told the Committee.

No room for discrimination

Practices in faith-based schools, and indeed in any endeavour conducted for the public by faith-based organisations, should reflect community standards and expectations.

Our union does not accept that the faith-based school communities in Australia are so fragile that they require exemptions from discrimination laws.

Our union believes that:

  • all staff and students in schools deserve safe workplaces/learning environments; and
  • staff in schools should not be discriminated against on the basis of their personal lives.
  • Faith-based schools have the capacity and resilience to continue to operate in the absence of discrimination exemptions.

If you believe you have been treated differently in your workplace contact our union immediately on FREECALL 1800 177 937.


Authorised by Terry Burke, Independent Education Union of Australia – Queensland & Northern Territory Branch, Brisbane.