Action against workplace discrimination

Published on 05/10/2010

Almost 70% of complaints accepted by the Commission in 2009-10 related to discrimination or harassment in the area of work. The acting Commissioner has called on employers to take a proactive approach to their obligations under Queensland anti-discrimination legislation.


Action needed by employers as workplace discrimination continues

The Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland (ADCQ) Acting Commissioner, Neroli Holmes, has called on employers to take a proactive approach to their obligations under Queensland anti-discrimination legislation after the latest statistics reveal a continuing trend in workplace discrimination.

The ADCQ Annual Report which was released last week, indicates that almost 70% of complaints accepted by the Commission in 2009-10 related to discrimination or harassment in the area of work. This is a continuing trend, with a steady increase in work related complaints being noted over the past five years.

The overwhelming majority of complaints we accept are in relation to acts occurring in the area of work Acting Commissioner Holmes stated. Discrimination on the basis of impairment is the most common complaint, followed closely by sexual harassment.

The Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 requires employers to take reasonable steps to prevent discrimination in the workplace. Employers who fail to do so may be held vicariously liable, regardless of whether they have been directly involved in the discriminatory activity. Simple strategies to avoid this liability can be implemented in workplaces, usually at far less cost than defending a claim of harassment or discrimination.

We encourage employers to contact the Anti-Discrimination Commission for assistance in understanding their obligations, and guidance on how to eliminate discrimination from their workplaces said Acting Commissioner Holmes. It is our experience that the improvement of workplace culture starts at the top, with managers and supervisors being educated and equipped to challenge inappropriate workplace behaviours and to lead by example.

The Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland can provide information and training to both employees and employers regarding their rights and responsibilities under Queensland anti-discrimination legislation.

Interviews: Acting Commissioner Neroli Holmes

Contact: Mackayla Jeffries
Phone: 07 3247 0920 | TTY 1300 130 680