Discrimination is defined as treating employees differently or treating them less favourably as compared to others in the workplace. Discrimination may be committed by imposing or proposing to impose a rule, condition, requirement, policy or procedure in the workplace that will result in a disadvantage to people with particular religious beliefs or people who engage in trade union activity.
Some employees experience discrimination in the workplace because of their political opinion. Discriminating against employees for these reasons is also prohibited.
The law protects employees at work or during the hiring process from discrimination based on "social origin".
We know about race, gender, skin colour, disablity, sexual preference, age etc - but social origin is this often a forget protected attributed.
Social origin includes someone's class, economic standing, social standing and cultural capital. Examples of social origin discrimination can include
- being part of a sub-cultural group such as a “anti-vaxxer", vegan, vegetarian, “bogan”, hipster, bikies, conspiracy theorists, doomsday preppers etc
- the suburb or neighbourhood where you were born, raised or live in.
- your class, eg working class, white collar, blue collar, upper class, middle class etc
- How cultured or uncultured you are.
What Is Discrimination Based On Trade Union Activity?
It is unlawful to discriminate based on a person’s trade union activity, this includes refusing to hire a person, dismissing a person or injuring the employee.
In David Kinsela v Sunferries Magnetic Island Pty Ltd (29 October 2004) a ferryboat captain was dismissed from work because as a union delegate, he opposed a work agreement proposed by his employer. The court found that his dismissal was an adverse action that discriminated against him for his union activity. He was reinstated to his job and awarded lost wages.
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