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Annual report 2014 now available Commissioner for Equal Opportunity Annual Report 2013 - 2014 (pdf)
Supporting sexual and gender diversity in schools
The WA Equal Opportunity Commissioner WA has released the Guidelines for supporting sexual and gender diversity in schools. Launching the Guidelines, Narelda Jacobs, pictured with Equal Opportunity Commissioner Allanah Lucas said that our children need to know they are safe from discrimination and bullying.
The Guidelines and resources for schools and students
Media release - Guidelines supporting sexuality and gender diverse schools
Be prepared to wear purple
Wear It Purple is a youth-led organisation that exists to support and empower rainbow (i.e. sexuality and gender diverse) young people.
Wear it Purple believes that every young person is unique, important and worthy of love. We believe no one should be subject to bullying, belittlement or invalidation: whoever you are. Wear it purple day is August 29. Wear purple and show your support.
Pregnancy discrimination persistent, pervasive and widespread
WA Commissioner for Equal Opportunity, Allanah Lucas welcomed Elizabeth Broderick, Sex Discrimination Commissioner to a WA community forum on the report of the National review of pregnancy and return to work.
The Report found that 1 in 2 Australian women experienced discrimination in employment related to their pregnancy, their parental leave or their return to work following parental leave. Even fathers taking parental leave experienced high levels of unfair treatment. Only 9% of these women made formal complaints, often for fear of victimisation or job loss.
In the Review Report Elizabeth Broderick identified four critical areas of change required:
- Provision of comprehensive, accurate information to employers and parents about their responsbilities and rights
- Developing organisational cultures which value flexible working practices as the norm.
- Strengthening the legal framework to protect against discrimination and provide clarity on employer obligations.
- Ongoing monitoring and research.
Read more about the National Review of pregnancy and return to work
Know where the line is.
Allanah Lucas Commissioner for Equal Opportunity is pleased to support Know Where the Line Is. This is a national strategy of The Australian Human Rights Commission in partnership with the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to raise awareness of sexual harassment.
It has been designed to encourage employees to think about where the line is when it comes to sexual harassment in the workplace and to support bystander action if they see or hear harassment occurring.
People often don’t report sexual harassment because they don’t think it is serious enough or are afraid of workplace repercussions. The AHRC found that one in five people say they have never experienced sexual harassment and then go on to describe experiences that would constitute sexual harassment under the legal definition.
The strategy emphasises the need for bystander action to support others experiencing this. It also calls for employers to take action when they see or hear it.
Resources are available at: Sexual harassment: Know where the line is
If you would like more information or to talk to someone you can call the Equal Opportunity Commission: Weekdays 9.00 am to 4.00 pm on 9216 3900 or contact us by email You can lodge a complaint on line at here.
Changes afoot at the EOC
The Equal Opportunity Commission welcomes the appointment of Ms Allanah Lucas as WA Commissioner for Equal Opportunity from 6 May 2014. Ms Lucas has been Acting Commissioner since June 2013. She brings broad experience and knowledge to this role. Allanah has worked in the arts and cultural sectors for over 35 years, most recently as the Director General of the Department of Culture and Arts. Working as a producer, practitioner, researcher, consultant and tutor, she has developed a diversity of creative, management, industrial and academic skills. During this career Allanah worked in arts executive roles in the United Kingdom for ten years. Her diversity and creativity is a great asset to the Commission.
However, we have also had to say goodbye to a number of long serving staff this year: Christine Johnson Manager of the Community Education Unit; Cathy Groves Manager of the Substantive Equality Unit; Sandra Pickering, Conciliation; Shirley Navonatu, Substantive Equality Unit; Jennifer Mitchell, Substantive Equality Unit; Rukhila Khan, Corporate Services, Marion Walker, Corporate Services, and Daniel Dale, Corporate Services. Many changes! All who have left brought their special characteristics to the positions they filled and contributed greatly to the work of the Commission. They will be missed, but as one of the people leaving said – as one door closes another opens. We wish all of them bright futures. Pictured above EOC staff at farewell gathering from left: Steve,Christine, Mike, Cathy, Samya, Zeta and Marc.
Human rights learning for students
Year ten students from the Australian Islamic College approached the Equal Opportunity Commission for a discussion about the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 and the challenges faced in dealing with unlawful discrimination.The students are pictured at left with their teacher and Kathy Digwood Manager of the EOC Conciliation Section.
Kathy and Allan McDonald senior legal officer spoke with the students and answered their many challenging questions. It was delightful to see such well informed and enthusiastic interest in a whole range of human rights issues.
The rights of young people in employment were of particular interest. The majority of complaints received by the Commission are in the area of employment. The girls discussed how the Act can impact on their lives and the lives of others.
EOC e-bulletin: Racial vilification in the spotlight
Section 18C of Commonwealth Racial Discrimination Act 1975 makes it unlawful for a person to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or persons, because of their race, colour or national or ethnic origin in public places. The proposed changes to this bill will increase the level of severity required before an act can be found unlawful.
Also featured in this e-bulletin the Youth Week forum Unwinding the Law. Speakers (pictured) included Rachel Herford, Midland PCYC; Sergeant Graham White, Central Metropolitan Crime Prevention & Diversity Unit; Anne Giles, EOC; Sam Leung, Propel Youth Arts WA; Phil Kelly,Youth Legal Service; The Shaun Wyn-Jones, Youth Affairs Council WA; and the convenor of the forum Anna Copeland, Murdoch University
Read the EOC e-bulletin
The Equal Opportunity Commission respectfully acknowledges the past and present traditional owners of Western Australia and pays respects to the traditional custodians of this land.