Under Australian Commonwealth workplace laws, everyone is entitled to workplace protections.
The Fair Work Act (2009) outlines guidelines between employees and employers in Australia. This includes an outline of general protections for workplace rights and discrimination.
All employees and employers have the right to join a trade union or employer association. As a member, individuals are legally permitted to actively participate in these groups, and are free to promote and organise, or represent their views.
An employer cannot take adverse action on an employee due to ethnic backgrounds. Discrimination areas include factors such as:
- Sexual orientation
- Physical or mental disability
- Marital status
- Family or carer’s responsibilities
- Political opinion
- Social origin
Examples of adverse action include refusal of employment, unfair dismissal, or employment contracts with discriminating terms due to any of the listed factors.
Limitations of adverse action exist when authorised action is outlined under the Fair Work Act (2009) or any other Commonwealth law.
Additionally, workplace rights make it illegal for a person to organise or influence action against someone to abuse or decline workplace privileges. This could include incidents where a colleague persuades another to:
- Use or neglect a specific right in a particular way
- Join industrial activity
- Give or deny responsibilities to someone
- Allocate duties
False or misleading representation about workplace rights of another, even in the third person is illegal.
To assist in workplace protections, an ombudsman, can assist in investigating complaints when poor or unfair treatment exists. An ombudsman is an impartial independent official who represents the interests of the public. Fair Work Ombudsman
When a person believes they have been unfairly treated, including dispute and dismissal complaints, they can be lodged with a Fair Work Ombudsman for further investigation.
National Employment Standards
In conjunction to the Fair Work Act (2009), National Employment Standards exist outlining ten minimum standards and factors of employment.
- Maximum weekly work hours
- Ability to request flexible working arrangements
- Parental leave and other entitlements
- Personal or carers leave, compassionate leave and unpaid family or domestic violence leave
- Annual leave
- Community Service Leave
- Long service leave
- Public holidays
- Guidelines for notices of termination and redundancy pay
- Fair Work Information Statement
More information on each of these categories can be found on the Fairwork Australia website.