Discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably than another person in similar circumstances because they happen to belong to a particular group of people or for reasons directly or indirectly related to one of the ‘grounds’ as described by State or Federal legislation.
Direct discrimination occurs where someone is treated less favourably than someone else because of one of the grounds listed below.
Indirect discrimination occurs when a rule, practice, policy, requirement or condition appears to be fair because it treats everyone in the same way, but in effect disadvantages people from a certain group in a manner that is not reasonable in the circumstances.
State and Federal equal opportunity and anti-discrimination legislation make it unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of:
- Race – including colour, ethnicity or national origin or descent
- Gender identity, sexual orientation and intersex status
- Marital status – being single, married, a de facto partner, separated, divorced or widowed, same sex
- Pregnancy or potential pregnancy
- Impairment – having a physical, intellectual or mental disability that is current, past or imputed
- Religious conviction – including a lack of conviction
- Political conviction – including a lack of conviction
- Age – being regarded as too young or too old (exemptions can apply under the Liquor Control Act 1988 and Children and Community Services Act 2004)
- Family responsibility – having a carer’s role
- Family status – being a relative of a particular person or having the status of being a particular relative
- Gender history – having a reassigned gender as certified under the Gender Reassignment Act 2000 (WA)
- Sexual orientation – including heterosexuality, homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality or assumed sexual orientation
- Sexual harassment – including unwelcome requests for sexual favour, touching and comments about a person’s private relationships
- Racial harassment – including offensive or insulting comments or other behaviour about a person’s colour, background or origin
- Spent conviction – a judge may chose to spend certain types of convictions, usually over 10 years of age, which means that a person may not have to acknowledge they were charged with and convicted of an offence.
Equity and Diversity (formerly known as Equal Opportunity) is about matching the proportion of people from diverse backgrounds in the workforce as a whole to the proportion in the community. Equity is also about ensuring fair access to employment conditions such as permanency and representation at the higher salary levels. It is recognising that treating people according to their needs does not mean treating everyone the same.
Harassment is defined as any unwelcome, offensive action, remark or behaviour, including bullying. “Sexual harassment” is defined as an unwelcome sexual advance, an unwelcome request for sexual favours or other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, in circumstances in which a reasonable person would have anticipated that the person being harassed would be offended, humiliated or intimidated.
Workplace bullying is repeated, unreasonable or inappropriate behaviour directed towards a worker, or a group of workers, that creates a risk to health and safety (Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 (WA)). This can be deemed as direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical behaviour or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others, at the place of work and/or in the course of employment.
Victimisation is against the law. Victimisation includes threatening, harassing or punishing a person in any way because they have objected about the discriminatory, harassing or bullying manner in which they feel they have been treated. It also applies to anyone who has made a complaint, or intends making a complaint, under the Act. Victimisation also applies to anyone giving evidence about a complaint.