Generation X is well known for its strong sense of unfair treatment and now it seems Generation Y also has an increased awareness of discrimination and harassment.
In 2014-15 the Equal Opportunity Commission (the Commission) recorded a 67 percent increase from the previous year in complaints from people under the age of 40.
Acting WA Equal Opportunity Commissioner Allan Macdonald said complaints lodged by people aged between 20 and 39 years had nearly doubled in the grounds of impairment and sexual harassment in the last year.
“Impairment discrimination and sexual harassment have always received a high number of complaints; however this could be indicative of an increased awareness of equal opportunity rights in the 20 to 39 year old age bracket,” Mr Macdonald said.
He said it could also be explained by greater access to online information and the Commission’s complaint system.
“Our figures don’t necessarily demonstrate that more people under the age of 40 are being discriminated against, but perhaps they are getting greater access to our online complaint system,” he said.
Mr Macdonald said with 15,834 views per month, one of the Commission’s most frequently visited website pages was the Your Rights page, which detailed what types of discrimination were covered by the Equal Opportunity Act 1984
and where in public life they were covered.
“The ability to click on our website to find out whether the treatment you are receiving is unlawful and then go and submit a complaint online suits a wide demographic including those aged under 40,” he said.
Of the 568 complaints received in 2014-15 at the Commission, 60 percent were submitted online and by email, which is an increase on last year’s figure of 56 percent.
Mr Macdonald said young people were not necessarily complaining about age discrimination.
“The majority of age discrimination complaints lodged in 2014-15 were because complainants felt wrongly perceived as being too old, not too young,” Mr Macdonald said.
He said the perception that someone was too old to perform a task at work, be a member of a club or receive the same service as someone younger continued to be a problem.
“There are many baby boomers, and those of the generation prior, who have a wealth of experience and good health to contribute to society and we can all benefit from their contribution,” he said.
FOR ADDITIONAL COMMENT: Public Affairs Officer, Sarah Johnston
(08) 9216 3911 mob 0409 137 843
Level 2, 141 St Georges Terrace, Western Australia 6000
Tel: (08) 9216 3900 –Fax: (08) 9216 3960
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website www.eoc.wa.gov.au