Everyone has the right to feel safe and accepted in their place of work. If you experience workplace discrimination or harassment, it can have a profound impact on your professional and personal life.
What is workplace discrimination?
Workplace discrimination occurs when an employer takes adverse actions against a worker or potential worker because of a protected attribute. These attributes include things such as:
- Skin colour
- Sexual orientation
- Physical or mental disability
- Marital status
- Religion or political opinion
If you’ve been dismissed, demoted or denied an opportunity on the basis of a protected attribute, you may have a claim for workplace discrimination.
The laws surrounding workplace discrimination vary from state to state, and strict time limitations apply. It's important to seek expert legal advice as soon as possible to ensure your rights are protected.
For more information on workplace discrimination and other work-related matters, visit our dedicated employment law blog.
Shine Lawyers: Your workplace discrimination lawyers
Shine Lawyers are experts in all aspects of employment law, including workplace discrimination. We operate on a “No Win, No Fee” basis and provide practical legal advice tailored to your personal situation.
Our lawyers simplify the legal system and guide you through all your rights and entitlements as an employee. To find out more about how Shine can work for you, get in touch with our employment team today.
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Common questions about Workplace Discrimination Lawyers
There are many ways for an employer to unlawfully discriminate against an employee. Discrimination can occur in any aspect of employment, not just hiring or firing. If you’re a potential or current employee, you can experience workplace discrimination.
If you’re mistreated because of attributes such as age, sex, sexual orientation, race, disability or pregnancy, that can amount to discrimination. Some common examples of behaviours that amount to discrimination include:
- Suggesting preferred candidates in a job advertisement
- Denying certain workers benefits based on discriminatory reasons
- Paying equally qualified employees in the same position different salaries, and
- Preventing certain people from using company facilities, such as bathrooms.
The list goes on and the possible forms of discrimination in the workplace are endless. So if you’re unsure whether you’ve been mistreated, get in touch with Shine’s employment law team today.
You don’t have to be a current employee to bring a claim for workplace discrimination. You can bring a discrimination claim against your employer if you’ve already resigned due to the discrimination, or if you experienced mistreatment in the hiring process.
If you’re unsure of your rights to bring a claim, get in touch with our expert employment law team. We’ll listen to your story, assess your personal circumstances and inform you of all your available options.
Mistreatment at work will amount to workplace discrimination when you have experienced an adverse action on the basis of one of the legally protected attributes such as sex, age, and race.
There are some situations where different treatment of an employee is justified and won’t amount to discrimination – for example, dismissing an employee or changing the nature of their occupation due to a series of mistakes they’ve made at work.
An adverse action is any action that is unlawful if it’s taken for discriminatory reasons. Some common examples of adverse actions include:
- Dismissing a worker
- Refusing to hire a potential employee
- Demoting an employee, and
- Discriminating between one worker and another.
If any of these actions are taken because of discriminatory reasons, it will amount to workplace discrimination and remedies may be available for the affected worker.
Direct discrimination is obvious discrimination. It’s what happens when a person or group is treated less favourably than another person or group because of specific characteristics.
Indirect discrimination is when a policy is the same for all employees but has a greater impact on certain individuals because of a protected attribute – for example, if entry to the building is via stairs only, it would be indirect discrimination against employees with disabilities. Indirect discrimination will still be unlawful if it is unreasonable in the circumstances.
If you believe you’ve been unfairly discriminated against in your workplace, it’s important to take action as soon as possible as strict time limits apply.
At Shine Lawyers, we’re employment law experts. Our lawyers can assess your case, explain the legal process in plain, simple language, and provide individually tailored advice for your particular case.
Get in touch today for more information on how we can help restore your rights as an employee.
Under the Fair Work Act, there are a number of remedies available for workplace discrimination. These include:
- An award of compensation
- An injunction to prevent the discriminatory behaviour, and
- Reinstatement to a prior or similar position.
At Shine, we appreciate that each case of workplace discrimination is unique. Our employment lawyers will carefully consider the details of your case and help you obtain the outcome that’s right for you.
There are some situations where treating a worker differently is acceptable, and doesn’t amount to discrimination. If, for example, an employee is demoted due to poor performance, this will not be a case of workplace discrimination.
The Fair Work Act also lists certain situations where different treatment may not amount to discrimination:
- Where the behaviour is permissible under State or Territory anti-discrimination laws
- Where the behaviour is based on essential requirements for a particular job or position, and
- Where the action is taken in accordance with religious beliefs, taken in good faith and to avoid harm to that religion.
Shine Lawyers has been righting wrongs for everyday Australians for over 40 years. We’re a law firm with a difference, and are proud to stand up for the rights of the little guy no matter the case at hand.
At Shine Lawyers, you will have your own go-to team who are always available to chat, and who understand the importance of explaining things in clear, plain language.
We strongly believe that everyone should have access to justice, regardless of their financial situation. That’s why we provide most of our employment law services on a No Win No Fee Guarantee, meaning you won’t have to pay our legal costs unless we get you a successful outcome.
Hear from some of our clients below who have been through the claims process with us.
Shine Lawyers are expert workplace relations and employment lawyers that can help you get the desired outcome following a work-related dispute.
Click on the links below for more information about how Shine Lawyers can help.
Shine Lawyers are a national firm, backed by a strong local presence. We have offices in the following locations:
New South Wales
- Gold Coast
- Hervey Bay
- North Lakes
- Stones Corner
- Sunshine Coast
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