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Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic).

Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic).

Effective employers want to run an organisation where everyone is treated fairly, differences are accepted, and people are treated with tolerance and respect. Various pieces of anti-discrimination legislation will help them do that.

The Victorian Equal Opportunity Act (2010) covers discrimination in employment, sexual harassment and victimisation at work. It includes employees, job applicants and contractors and aims to protect people who are associated with them, such as carers, friends or relatives.

You are not allowed to discriminate against someone because of:

  • race or skin colour
  • sex or sexual orientation
  • age
  • physical or mental disability
  • marital status
  • family or carer’s responsibilities
  • pregnancy
  • religion or political opinion
  • national extraction or social origin

Take positive action.

The Act says you have to take positive action to prevent discrimination, harassment or victimisation, rather than waiting for a complaint or a problem. What you do should be reasonable and in line with your particular business:

  • the size, nature and circumstances of your business
  • your resources
  • your business and operational priorities
  • how practical or costly are the measures

If you do nothing – even without a complaint – you could still be investigated by the Human Rights Commission. The Commission looks for any potential breaches of your duty to prevent discrimination, sexual harassment or victimisation at work.

Other practical steps.

  • There are a number of steps you can take to prevent discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation at work.Make sure you have a written policy on workplace discrimination, which you regularly review for latest updates. Check whether any of your other policies, procedures or training programs are potentially discriminatory. For example, set out procedures for employees with parental or carer’s responsibilities to apply for flexible work arrangements.
  • Monitor the way you recruit new employees and train them early in equal opportunity at work.
  • If there is a problem, make sure the procedure for employees to make complaints about discrimination is streamlined, effective and helps prevent it from happening again.

Employsure can advise you on acting positively to reduce workplace discrimination in your business. For peace of mind, please call our 24 hour Advice Line now on 1300 651 415.

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