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Workplace Discrimination Increasing According To New Survey

Workplace discrimination increasing according to new survey

Workplace discrimination is increasing, according to a new survey by recruiter Robert Walters.

According to the research, 82 percent of professionals report sex discrimination in workplaces, up from 75 percent in 2012.

Women are more likely to hold this view than men (90 percent compared to 73 percent).

Additionally, more women believe employers overlook them for jobs or promotions because of their sex.

Workplace discrimination increasing

Fair Work Claims files a large number of discrimination and also sexual harassment claims in the Queensland Human Rights Commission.

Litigation Director Miles Heffernan says he manages all manner of discrimination claims on behalf of his clients.

For example, transgender discrimination is a common complaint.

“Transgender teachers tell us schools stop offering shifts when they start the transitioning process, which is clear discrimination,” he said.

What is unlawful discrimination

Unlawful discrimination happens when someone is treated unfairly because of a particular attribute.

The law specifies a list of protected attributes.

For example:

  • sex,
  • sexual orientation,
  • gender identity,
  • pregnancy,
  • relationship status,
  • parental or carer’s responsibilities,
  • or impairment or disability.


Family responsibilities discrimination

Family responsibilities discrimination is also common, according to Mr Heffernan.

“We had case where a new mum had her rosters changed so she couldn’t care for her baby son,” he said.

“However, management allowed a co-worker to leave the office early to pick up her children from school.

“That’s unlawful discrimination.”

Mr Heffernan said employers must make reasonable adjustments to accommodate parents with family responsibilities.

READ MORE – “Mum negotiates $25,000 after boss refuses flexible work arrangements”

Age and pregnancy discrimination common

Mr Heffernan said other forms of discrimination involve age or pregnancy.

“It’s common for a worker to get pregnant, and all of a sudden, her shifts are reduced, or her role is changed, or she is encouraged to quit,” he said.

Lawful sexual activity discrimination

Fair Work Claims negotiated a $20,00 settlement for a young car detailer who experienced discrimination for being a sex worker.

Management constantly overlooked him for promotions as a result of him previously making a complaint about sexual harassment.

“That is blatant lawful sexual activity discrimination,” Mr Heffernan said.

“Management in addition to his co-workers treated the young man unfairly because he is a sex worker, however, in Queensland, that’s unlawful.”

READ MORE – “Queensland sex worker negotiates $25,000 after outed at day job

Greater awareness of discrimination

Sinead Hourigan, Queensland Director of Robert Walters, told The Courier-Mail the incidents of sex discrimination are not increasing.

Rather, it’s likely reporting is increasing as a result of a greater awareness in the community.

“Over the last decade, companies have tried a range of different strategies to hire more females for traditionally male-dominated roles,” she said.

Sinead Hourigan from Robert Walters. (Picture Adam Armstrong)

No one should have to put up with discrimination

Mr Heffernan said no one should have to put up with discrimination.

“No one should be treated unfairly because they are a man or a woman, or gay or straight, or transgender, or pregnant, or have children or don’t have children, or because they have a disability, or if they are a member of a union, or of they are young or old,” he said.

Please call our team at Fair Work Claims today on

1300 324 748

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