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We Can help
If you have been bullied, harassed, or treated differently because you have raised or complained about discrimination in the workplace you may be able to bring a further claim for victimization.

"The Worst thing one can do is not to try, to be aware of what one wants and not give in to it, to spend years in silent hurt wondering if something could have materialized- and never knowing" David Visconti.

Ring today for confidential advice, you do not have suffer discrimination and have a employer ruin your life

You do not have to be treated like a second class citizen in the workplace. You have rights in the various tribunal systems for compensation, an apology or counseling assistance if required.

Please be aware of the following timelines:

14 days to lodge a unfair dismissal claim
60 days to lodge a unlawful dismissal claim
one year to lodge a discrimination complaint.
These timlines are strictly enforced, if you have a legimate reason for being outside these timelines you may still be able to lodge a claim, call us to discuss

Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Victimization

Many people do not realize that they may have a equal opportunity or anti-discrimination claim, or do not understand what discrimination or harassment means under the various equal opportunity or anti-discrimination legislation. Set out below are the various categories under which you may be entitled to make a claim.

You are entitled to justice and a fair go, under no circumstances do you have to suffer or put up with sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace. Why should you suffer because of your employer, or their failure to act on your complaints. Many people do not realize that they may be eligible or just not sure as to the merits of their claim, Call now to have a confidential discussion regarding your situation.

What is unlawful discrimination?

Victoria's Equal Opportunity Act,or the Federal Fair Work Australia Act and the Federal Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission makes it unlawful to sexually harass others or to discriminate against anyone, or terminated their employment because of their:

(Various acts cover different aspects of discrimination, the list below, particularly the explanations are not exhaustive)
•Sexual harassment(uninvited comments, slurs, and/or jokes, unwelcome advances, touched, pressured for sex, sent pornographic emails)
•age, (treated differently because you are young, refusing to retire, not promoted, or made redundant because of your age)
•impairment/mental disability, or Depression
(Have you been subject to intimidation, ridicule and insult or not allowed to work or given lessor duties because of an injury?, laughed at or ostracized because of your disability or circumstances)
•marital, parental or career status
•family responsibilities, (forced to work nights or weekends or sacked when you are unable to when the employer knows you have to take care of your children or partner)
•temporary absence due to illness or injury(sacked, or moved to lessor duties on returning from work cover, sacked because you have been sick and away for a few days)
•physical features (your weight is commented on, your looks, comments about the outcome of an operation)
•pregnancy (moved to lessor duties or or loss of seniority, sacked, made redundant whilst on maternity leave, no reasonable adjustment of hours on return to the workplace)
•race, national extraction, social origin or colour (comments about your race, colour, sacked because of your nationality or not promoted because of who you are)
•refusing to negotiate, make, sign, extend, vary or terminate an Australian workplace agreement (AWA);
•absence from work during maternity leave or other parental leave
•religious or political beliefs or activity
•sexual orientation; or sexual preference
•the filing of a complaint, or involvement in proceedings, against an employer regarding an alleged breach of the law (complaining against bad OH&S practices to work cover or complaining to wage line about pay or conditions)
•trade union membership or industrial activity (sacked or made redundant because your were the union or OH&S rep or because you were not)
•non-membership of a trade union;
•personal association with someone who has one of these protected characteristics
•Discrimination in hiring practices (did not the job for a discriminatory reason)
•Breastfeeding
•Criminal record

Your self respect tells you not to let your employer or staff get away with it

What's Going On?

There is no doubt the federal government is weakening the employees ability to negotiate in the workplace or to bring claims for unfair dismissal or unlawful dismissal. Just because you have been unfairly or harshly treated in the workplace does not necessarily mean you have discriminated against. Please examine the list provided and see if the way you have been treated in the workplace falls into one of these categories However the government has actually strengthened employees ability to bring unlawful dismissal claims to the various Commissions and tribunal systems throughout Australia.

The employer has a vicarious liability to protect you against discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace. With the new industrial relations many employers (not all) think they can do just about do anything to its workforce, because of your reduced unfair dismissal rights. People are wrongfully judged, categorized, sexually harassed and treated unequally every day in Australia, rather than being judged on their merits and allowed to go to work and do their job.

Women and Discrimination

Women face limits on promotion in the workplace because of conscious and subconscious sex bias, and continue to experience sexual harassment on the job despite increased employer awareness of an employer’s obligation to take preventive and corrective action.

Pregnant women suffer from discrimination in hiring, promotion, and job performance evaluation because of false assumptions about their ability to work. Women with family responsibilities are disadvantaged by employer insensitivity to the family responsibilities of their employees. Women of color or of foreign nationality are particularly vulnerable to discrimination in the workplace because they face a combination of racial and gender barriers.

 

ITS 2010, SO WHY ARE WOMEN

STILL BEING ABUSED IN WORKPLACES

ACROSS THE COUNTRY? (reprinted from Cosmopolitan October 2010 Edition)

(Gary Pinchen is the Principal of A Whole New Approach P/L

 

When 25-year-old Kristy Fraser stood in front of a pack of media in august this year, she could well have been doing her job as a publicist for department store David Jones. Instead, she was announcing that she would be suing her former employers for $37 million, after alleging former CEO Mark Mclines sexually harassed her at work.

She claimed he put his hands under her clothes, touched her bra and asked her to go back to his Bondi apartment with him.

“I’m a young woman standing here today ... because I said this wasn’t ok,” she said “I just want to be treated with respect.”

At the time of going to the press the case had not yet gone to court. However, regardless of the outcome, the fact that Fraser-Kirk has gone public about McInnes’ alleged behaviour is defiantly unusual.

Only 16 percent of woman who are sexually harassed at work take any action, says sex discrimination commissioner Elizabeth Broderick. This is down from 32 percent in 2003- but this doesn’t mean it now happens less, says Gary Pinchen, of industrial and discrimination workplace representatives, A Whole New Approach (AWNA). “We think sexual harassment is simply being reported less because women are worried about what it could mean for their future careers,” he says. “Victims worry that making a fuss could lose them their jobs. Although this is illegal, unfortunately, it does still happen.”

For hazel, 29, the fear of losing her job stopped her complaining about her boss’ behaviour. “I worked in a photography studio.” She says. “My boss started to make suggestive comments about how good I’d look in front of the camera, especially if I wasn’t wearing much.  The first time it happened I just laughed it off. But he kept mentioning it. Then he started coming up behind me and whispering in my ear how sexy I looked. Id move away, but it didn’t stop him. I was scared to say anything as it was a good job and everyone thought I was lucky to be working there.”

When she started to avoid going to her work, her mum asked her what was wrong.  “I told her what has been happening and she made me resign immediately,” she says. “I was lucky enough she helped me out financially, otherwise I don’t know what I would have done. I never told anyone else in the company why I handed in my notice.”

Many women can shy away from reporting sexual harassment for the simple reason they’re unsure of what constitutes inappropriate behaviour. “If something makes you feel uncomfortable then it shouldn’t be happening,” says a spokesperson for reachout.com.au. “In many cases sexual harassment starts subtly,” adds Pinchen. “he might compliment your outfit or put a hand on your shoulder. Although these small but intimate gestures might make you feel uncomfortable, many woman don’t want to complain about something that can potentially be perceived as innocuous.”

Tara* was working as a housekeeping team leader when a male colleague first approached her. “he put his arms round me and called me sweetie’,” she says. “i felt uncomfortable but i wasn’t sure if i should say anything. It seemed like nothing.”  Some weeks later, his intentions intensified. “He’d rub my arms, brush up against my back and tell me i am gorgeous. The third time it happened i said: ‘don’t do that.’ But it didn’t make a difference.”

She complained to her female supervisor. “she told me to get over it,” she says. “the ma wasn’t Australian so she said his actions were just part of his culture and i shouldn’t make a fuss. I was upset that another woman wouldn’t back me up.” After taking her complaint to a senior manager she was sacked and given no reason for dismissal. “Unfortunately, many companies don’t like to have staff on board that pose a risk to their reputation,” says Pinchen. “if you’ve ever done anything wrong previously, that can be used as an excuse for firing someone.” Tara, who is now in her forties, took her former company to court and in the end was awarded $5,000 compensation, but she believes she might not have had the confidence to go through with it all, had the experience happened to her in her twenties. Ideally, Pinchen would like more companies to be pulled up in front of the courts so male staff think twice about about sexually harassing colleagues. “if it does get to the stage where former employees sue their company, its often settled out of court so the company escapes with the least publicity possible,” he says “its [only] the really brave woman who take it to court and make others accountable for their actions.” Katherine Chatfield

 

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