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News Bulletin : ADA News Bulletin September 2011
23 SePtember 2011 new amendments to Sex and Age DiSCRiminATiOn LAWS Amendments outlined in the Sex and Age Discrimination Legislation Amendment Act 2011 are now in force under federal sex and age discrimination laws. Amendments broaden federal protections and seek to eliminate discrimination and promote gender equality. Discrimination and equal opportunity laws apply in all parts of Australia. They provide an onus on employers to make their workplaces free of discrimination, including sexual harassment. Amendments to the Age Discrimination Act 1994 include the new appointment of an Age Discrimination Commissioner within the Australian Human Rights Commission to specifically address issues facing mature-aged workers. Sex discrimination amendments include a change to the sexual harassment definition which now describes that a reasonable person need only anticipate the “possibility” of the harassed person being offended, humiliated or intimidated by the conduct in question. This change replaces the previous definition under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 that required a reasonable person need only anticipate that the harassed person “would be” offended, humiliated or intimidated by the conduct. The legal test for sexual harassment under the federal Sex Discrimination Act has three essential elements: • The behaviour must be unwelcomed; • It must be of a sexual nature; • Whether the alleged conduct took place in circumstances which a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would have “anticipated the possibility” that the person harassed would be offended, humiliated or intimidated. Sexual harassment is considered to be a form of unlawful discrimination and can take various forms including, but not limited to: • Unwelcome touching, hugging or kissing; • Suggestive comments or jokes; • Intrusive questions about an employee’s private life or body; • Sexually explicit emails or SMS messages; • Accessing sexually explicit internet sites; • Behaviour which would also be an offence under the criminal law, such as physical assault, indecent exposure, sexual assault, stalking or obscene communications. Extended protections against sexual harassment make it unlawful for a person to sexually harass another person in the course of seeking, or receiving goods, services or facilities from the harassed person. This includes sexual harassment by customers against staff of a vendor. The wide protection for employees may result in more claims of sexual harassment or sex discrimination being made to the Australian Human Rights Commission. Where claims are unsuccessful under the Australian Human Rights Commission, employees can then make claims for damages for adverse action under the Fair Work Act 2009. no false advice Please contact Garry Pammer, Alison Lacey or Heath Stewart on: Telephone (02) 9264 1111 Fax (02) 9264 1344 email firstname.lastname@example.org website clarkjacobs.com.au Dental specialists for over 20 years
ADA News Bulletin August 2011
ADA News Bulletin October 2011