What To Do About Discrimination in the Workplace

David Maldonado

Have you been discriminated against in your work place? First, let’s see what discrimination looks like.

  • Interference in doing your job
  • Making changes to your job in a way that is disadvantageous to you
  • Treatment that is different from everyone else
  • Refusal to employ you
  • Unfair dismissal
  • Being given different pay or conditions to others who are doing the same job.

So you can see that discrimination is not the same as harassment. It is basically when you are treated unfairly because of what you stand for or who you are. It could simply be because you are a female that you are subjected to different treatment, refused work that you are well qualified for, or paid less than your male counterparts.

The reality is that the two often go together because when you are treated differently the form it can take may be verbal or emotional abuse and sometimes even sexual harassment.

Any kind of discrimination in the workplace is illegal and there are laws to protect everyone from it, not just women. So whether it is your gender, race, physical attributes, religious or political belief or activity, sexual orientation, age, parental status or several other reasons that has caused it, there is no need to suffer in silence.

Federal and state laws are there to protect victims of discrimination and harassment whether it happens at school or any other educational facility, in a sporting club, when you are buying or selling, or are at work. Moreover, it is against the law for anyone to pick on or harass you or anyone that helps you to make a complaint against them or anyone else who has subjected you to discrimination or harassment.

What to do

If you’ve been a victim of discrimination or harassment at work, you need to talk to someone about it. Often there will be a designated person, but if you don’t know, you can go to your manager or the person at the top.

If nothing is done, or if you prefer to skip this step, the next thing to do is lodge an official complaint to the Fair Work Ombudsman, either by phone (131394) or online at www.fairwork.gov.au . If you’ve been unfairly dismissed, then you have just 21 days to make a complaint and that should go to The Fair Work Commission (1300 799 675).

If your problem is not one that the above people deal with, they will refer you to the correct organisation to give you all the help you need, so never be afraid to contact them for any reason. You should not have to suffer from this form of bullying and dealing with it is the best way to prevent it happening again