While it may seem that we’ve come a long way from the Mad Men days where discrimination was part and parcel of office life, the truth is often far from that.
Despite a mountain of anti-discrimination legislation being passed over the past few decades, the reality is that Australians are still being discriminated against at work.
The Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick, will be researching the prevalence and nature of discrimination against pregnant women at work, as well as employees returning to work after parental leave.
Broderick said she’s undertaking this research as there is currently no comprehensive data on the issue.
She told the Australian Human Rights Commission that the number of complaints Fair Work Australia and the Commission have received on this issue indicate that discrimination in this area remains a significant problem.
As part of its investigation, the Commission will be hosting a series of roundtables and consultations across Australia, involving participants from unions, government, industry, employer groups, and women’s groups.
However, pregnant women and people returning from parental leave may not be the only ones being discriminated against in the workplace.
Here are some strategies to make sure your workplace complies with current anti-discrimination legislation:
1. Develop clear internal guidelines and practices that follow the legislation
2. Make sure that all staff are aware of company policies by conducting information sessions every year
3. Investigate any complaints made by employees about discrimination seriously