Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 passed by parliament

Date: Nov 27, 2012

Women may seek workers compensation if they have been discriminated against in the workplace. For example, cases of sexual harassment, discrimination due to gender or unfair treatment if pregnant or a mother may all be grounds for making a compensation claim.

There are lawyers in Sydney who specialise in workers comp and can therefore help anyone who may have suffered from discrimination on the job.

These services exist to help people in the event of a breach of law – in other words, after an inappropriate incident has happened.

However, there is always a need to focus on prevention strategies to try and stop these incidents occurring in the first place.

The new Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 looks to try and minimise the risk of inappropriate behaviour and discrimination in the workplace, specifically in relation to women.

This act was passed on November 22 and builds on the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999.

According to Helen Conway, the director of the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA), “the changes will increase Australia’s productivity and improve business performance by empowering organisations to harness all of the nation’s talent”.

The main change to the act is a new requirement for businesses with more than 100 employees and that are not in the public sector.

These companies are now required to report on gender equality outcomes. This will provide the EOWA with data so that they can explore how to better improve gender equality in the workplace.

“This data will put Australia at the international cutting edge for analysing progress on workplace gender equality. The agency will use the data to set industry-specific benchmarks. Employers will be able to compare their performance with others in their industry and we’ll work with organisations to develop strategies to improve their performance,” Ms Conway explained.

These requirements will not come into effect until 2014, with next year set aside to prepare businesses for the change.

Ms Conway said that the EOWA was there to help companies understand and comply with their new obligations.

“There is a strong business case for gender equality but we recognise that many organisations struggle to achieve it. We are absolutely committed to working collaboratively with employers to help them bring gender equality to their workplaces,” she said.

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