Sacking workers for asking questions is 'discrimination' in Vic

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Sacking workers for asking questions is 'discrimination' in Vic

Sacking workers for asking whether they were receiving their correct wages and entitlement will soon be an offence under the State Equal Opportunity Act, following legislation introduced into the Victorian Parliament yesterday.

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Sacking workers for asking whether they were receiving their correct wages and entitlement will soon be an offence under the State Equal Opportunity Act, following legislation introduced into the Victorian Parliament yesterday.

Under the legislation, taking action against workers in such circumstances would be seen as discrimination.

The Minister for Industrial Relations, Rob Hulls, said the new laws would ensure that vulnerable employees were protected from discrimination when making reasonable requests about whether they were receiving their legal pay and entitlements.

He said the legislation to amend the Equal Opportunity Act was necessary because the Federal Government's WorkChoices agenda left workers exposed.

Climate of fear

'The climate of fear and uncertainty created by the Federal workplace laws means many people, particularly young workers, women, and people from non-English speaking backgrounds, are reluctant to ask whether they are being paid appropriately for fear of being sacked or demoted,' Hulls said. 'Under WorkChoices employees can suffer discrimination if they ask questions about their pay and working conditions.

'This is emerging as a very real threat, with several complaints to the Office of the Victorian Workplace Rights Advocate from people who have been sacked for asking such questions.

Grossly unfair

'We think that is grossly unfair — surely nobody could question the right of an employee to ask about their entitlements.'

The amendment will add a new protection for discrimination under State laws, but Hulls said the Bracks Government could only do so much to shield workers from 'the excesses of the Federal Government's draconian laws'.

'The changes we can make are only a band-aid over a wound that can only be healed by removing the Howard Government,' he said.

AHRI National Convention — 2007

HR managers are confronted with complex issues of discrimination, WorkChoices and many more. Numerous issues in a complex HR environment will be considered at the upcoming 2007 AHRI National Convention in Sydney.

The annual AHRI National Convention is a premier event on the Australian calendar for human resource professionals and people managers. A range of high profile speakers will be there - including:

  • Christopher A Bartlett
  • Margaret Douglas
  • Andrew Gaze
  • Mick Keelty
  • Christine Nixon
  • Jim Penman
  • Naomi Simpson
  • Fons Trompenaars
  • Dave Ulrich


4–5 June 2007

Venue:
Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre

For more information, visit the AHRI National Convention 2007 website.

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