Equity Contact Officers
The appointment and support of the Equity Contact Officer is an indication of an employer's commitment to take incidents of discrimination and harassment seriously. It also assists management to discharge its responsibilities under the vicarious liability provisions of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991.
Equity Contact Officers (ECOs) provide assistance to staff who are subjected to discrimination and harassment and support management in the prevention and elimination of such behaviour in the workplace.
The objective of having ECOs is to:
- raise staff awareness on harassment issues;
- educate staff on options available;
- facilitate early resolution of incidents of discrimination or harassment;
- provide a safe environment for staff to express concerns in a confidential manner;
- make recommendations to management about ways to prevent further incidents;
- assist in promoting a workplace free from discrimination and harassment.
While the Equity Contact Officer role is not defined in law it can be identified as a reasonable step to manage and prevent unacceptable workplace behaviours. The Commission offers training for new and existing Equity Contact Officers to assist them to understand and perform this vital role.
Equity Contact Officers can often be referred to as Contact Officers, Discrimination and Harassment Contact Officers, Equity and Diversity Contact Officers or a variety of other titles, depending on the workplace.