If you are a reader of this blog, you know that we like to report on employment discrimination topics from around the globe, if for no other reason than to let our readers compare the laws and traditions of other nations with American laws, and to see that, at least in common law countries, there are similar bans on discrimination but no lack of imagination when it comes to remedies.
We have found a case where a hairdressing salon in Perth, Australia has been found to have violated the Fair Work Act by discriminating against a female employee because of her physical disability – she has multiple sclerosis, and because of her pregnancy.
Similar to the US Title VII (but broader), the Fair Work Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against employees and prospective employees on the grounds of pregnancy, race, color, sex, sexual preference, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, family or career responsibilities, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin.
To avoid litigation, the employer executed an “Enforceable Undertaking” with what is called the Fair Work Ombudsman, which is an admission that it had, in fact, discriminated against the employee by changing her employment status from full-time to “casual” and reducing her hours because of her physical disability and pregnancy. See role of Fair Work Ombudsman.
The employer also agreed to apologize to the former employee (it wrote of its "sincere regret" for its behavior and gave a commitment that it will not happen again), and to pay her $2000 compensation. It also agreed to seek specialist workplace relations advice each year for the next three years to ensure future compliance with workplace laws.