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Hon. Justice Robyn Layton AO QC ADB consultant : Adjunct Professor Law School University of South Australia
The conduct – WHAT actions can be investigated?
The workers – WHO can bring a complaint?
The employers – AGAINST WHOM can a complaint be lodged? The process – HOW can a complaint be lodged? Remedies – WHAT are the possible outcomes? Data (2011-2012)
The Australian Human Rights Commission has the power to investigate complaints if you have been:
•Refused a job •Dismissed from a job •Refused a promotion, transfer or other employment benefit •Given unfair terms or conditions of employment •Refused training opportunities •Refused flexible work arrangements •Harassed or bullied
AND you believe this has happened because of your sex, disability, race, age, sexual preferences, religion, criminal record, trade union activity or political opinion
ALL TYPES of workers can complain to the Human Rights Commission, including:
Apprentices or trainees
Workers on probation Part-time OR full-time workers Casual or permanent workers Labor hire workers
Workers on commission People in Australia on a work visa
ALL TYPES of employers are subject to the Commission’s complaints procedures, including: The Commonwealth Government The State Government Private companies Small businesses Charities
Can be made in writing
your name, address and telephone number who you are complaining about and their contact details what happened to you, when it happened and who was involved what law you think has been breached and how whether you have made a complaint anywhere else and, if so, what happened. Include any relevant documents
Can be filled in on line with the same information
•Complaints to the Commission must be made in writing
•Complaints may be in any language and the Commission can help to write them down •After a complaint is made, the Commission may seek further information •Generally, the Commission will notify the respondent (employer) about the complaint, and may initiate a conciliation process
•A lawyer is not required for any stage of the process, but advocates or support people are permitted
Complaint outcomes can include An apology
Reinstatement to a job
Compensation for lost wages Changes to a policy or development and promotion of anti-discrimination policies If the President of the Commission is satisfied that a complaint cannot be resolved, it will be terminated. If the President terminates a complaint, an application may be made to the Federal Magistrates Court or Federal Court of Australia within 60 days
In 2011-2012, the Commission received 17,047 enquiries and 2,601 complaints. Of those complaints 19% (505 complaints) were regarding discrimination on the basis of sex and of those complaints the overwhelming majority (85% ) concerned sex discrimination in employment. Approximately 84% of all sex discrimination complaints were made by women. Of the sex discrimination complaints ,43% proceeded to the conciliation stage and approximately 60% of conciliated complaints were successfully resolved For sex discrimination complaints, 68% were finalized within 6 months, 88% were finalized within 9 months, and 95% were finalized within 12 months