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March 2018

Helping restaurants cater for everyone


On Tuesday 20 February the Equal Opportunity Commission launched its accessible menus guide Catering for everyone at the Generous Squire in Perth.

Acting Commissioner Dr John Byrne welcomed representatives from the hospitality industry and the disability sector to the event, as well as the two young people who initiated the project Harry Nicholas and Genevieve Weston.

Harry and Genevieve originally came to the Commission with a complaint about a venue not having visible menus; however the previous Commissioner, Allanah Lucas, suggested working with stakeholders to develop a guide with the potential to have a wide reaching impact on the hospitality industry.

Dr Byrne said the Commission worked closely with VisAbility WA and the Australian Hotels Association WA to develop the guide last year.

“It is a comprehensive guide for hospitality venues that want to better serve customers with visibility impairments,” he said.

Dr Byrne said good customer service was an essential part of increasing business.

“If a venue creates a pleasant dining experience for a customer regardless of whether they have an impairment they will be more likely to return and recommend the venue to others.

“If a person with a sight impairment cannot read the menu and that makes their dining experience awkward, they may not return and may tell others about their negative experience,” he said.

The guide is available as a free download in a range of formats from the Equal Opportunity Commission’s website.

“It not only has cost effective tips for making menus more accessible, it also has tips for easily making the whole dining experience better for those with vision impairments,” he said.



(From Left) Restaurant and Catering Industry Association Membership Manager Brian Moar, Harry Nicholas, Dr John Byrne and Genevieve Weston at the launch



Women sharing advice for International Women's Day


The Commission held a speed mentoring event for young women again this year on International Women’s Day, with 14 inspirational mentors ready to share their advice.

Acting Commissioner Dr John Byrne said mentors included Kirby Bentley from the Fremantle Dockers Women’s Team, former WA Chief Scientist Lyn Beasley and Director of Morrison Clothing Kylie Radford.

“We have inspiring mentors from many different backgrounds and disciplines all donating their time on International Women’s Day to sit down and share their advice with some very lucky young women,” he said.

Dr Byrne said 21 young women participated this year as mentees, 10 from Katanning organised through the Wirrpanda Foundation.

“As was the case last year, both mentors and mentees got a lot out of the sessions,” he said.

He said it was good to do something practical to improve gender equality on International Women’s Day.

“Studies have shown that the career progression of both men and women benefit from mentors, however women often find female mentors harder to access as there is still not enough female representation in senior roles,” he said.


Kylie & mentee

Morrison Clothing Director & Designer Kylie Radford with a mentee from St George's Anglican Grammar School



Barber shop blues


A bit has been in the media lately about discrimination and women’s haircuts. ABC online reported an allegation of sex discrimination in Brisbane when a woman was refused service at a Jimmy Rod’s Barber Shop in The Gap Village Shopping Centre recently.

The woman had been attending Jimmy Rod’s Barber Shops to have her haircut for two years; however, this Jimmy Rod’s Barber Shop was bound by its lease agreement with centre management not to compete with other ‘women’s’ hair salons in the shopping centre and refuse female clients.

Another ABC report covered a barber shop in Darwin which refused to cut a woman’s hair because it wanted to create ‘a safe and nurturing environment for men’.

The woman has lodged a complaint of discrimination with the Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commission and the complaint is under investigation.

The owner of the shop conceded discrimination was entrenched in the hairdressing industry, where women generally paid more for haircuts than men.

She said she thought that discrimination in hairdressing prices was partly because women were socialised to pay a lot more for their haircuts than men.

How would the law work in WA?

Under the WA Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (the Act), the female customer who was refused service at Jimmy Rod’s Barber Shop could lodge a sex discrimination complaint with the Equal Opportunity Commission against Jimmy Rod’s Barber Shop and the shopping centre.

If the complaint did not resolve in conciliation at the Commission and was referred to the State Administrative Tribunal, the Tribunal could find both the barber shop and the centre had breached the Act as it is unlawful for a person to cause, instruct, or permit another person to do an act that is also unlawful under the Act.

In this case the centre placing the restrictive condition on the barber shop.

The shopping centre could apply for an exemption under the Act, but they would have to persuade the Tribunal that granting the exemption is necessary to further the objects of the Act or that it is in the public interest to allow the exemption, such as it would provide safety for men.

This is also what the owner of the barber shop in Darwin would have to do if her business was based in WA and she wanted to only serve men at her shop.




What's coming up


The Commission’s Training Calendar from January to June 2018 is now available. You can register for all Commission courses on the Community Education page.

March 13             Sexual Harassment – Know where the line is – FREE EVENT

March 15             Panel discussion – Has political correctness gone mad?

March 21             Contact Officer Role

March 27             Introduction to Equal Opportunity Law

March 28             Fairer Go For Your Clients - FREE EVENT

Please contact us on 9216 3900 if you are interested in organisation specific training or for a rights based session for your clients or community members.


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