Fair Work Ombudsman joins Midsumma to help raise awareness of unlawful discrimination

12 January 2015

The Fair Work Ombudsman will participate in this year’s Midsumma Festival in Melbourne to help raise awareness of unlawful workplace discrimination.

“Every worker has a right to a supportive workplace free of discrimination,” says Deputy Fair Work Ombudsman (Operations) Michael Campbell. 

“Many instances of employees being discriminated against may be going unreported because of a lack of awareness of workplace rights,” he said.

“We want employees to be aware that discrimination in the workplace is unlawful and if they do experience it, they can turn to the Fair Work Ombudsman for help.”

The Fair Work Ombudsman will host a stall at Carnival - which kicks off the Midsumma Festival - on Sunday, January 18, between 11am and 5pm at Alexandra Gardens. Entry is free.

Fair Work Ombudsman staff will talk to event-goers about workplace issues and distribute educational brochures on unlawful workplace discrimination.

“We receive very few requests for assistance about discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, but this may be due to a lack of awareness, and it is our role to educate the community about its workplace rights and obligations,” Mr Campbell said.

Mr Campbell says behaviour which could constitute discrimination includes changing an employee’s job to their disadvantage, reducing their pay or refusing to hire them on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Any worker who has been subjected to this type of conduct should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free advice and assistance,” he said.

Fair Work inspectors can also investigate allegations of discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, pregnancy, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, family or carer responsibilities, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin.

Mr Campbell says same-sex couples should also be aware they are eligible for the same parental, adoption and carer’s leave entitlements as heterosexual partners.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has information about discrimination and various workplace entitlements available on its website at www.fairwork.gov.au or people can call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. A free interpreter service is also available on 13 14 50.

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