Topic: Discrimination and harassment

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Singapore to enshrine workplace anti-discrimination laws

On 29 August 2021, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that the Government will enact new laws to formally enshrine the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices (“TAFEP Guidelines”) into statute.1 There are, at present, no specific laws in Singapore which directly regulate workplace discrimination. Employers are, however, expected to abide by the principles … Continue reading

Speculation in Human Rights Claims – A Recent Decision

One of the challenging circumstances often facing an employer is having to make a tough decision (e.g. termination) with respect to an employee who is known to have a protected characteristic under human rights law. Whether the employee is elderly, has a disability, is gay, or has another protected characteristic, the concern is that the … Continue reading

Government introduces legislative changes following the Respect@Work report

On 24 June 2021, the Federal Government introduced the Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendments Bill 2021 (Cth) (Bill) into the Senate.  The Bill amends both the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) (SDA) and the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FWA) in response to the Respect@Work report (the Report) and implements many … Continue reading

AHRC Report: ASX200 companies and sexual harassment

On 17 June 2021, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) released the “Equality across the board: Investing in workplaces that work for everyone (2021)” report (AHRC Report).  The report collates survey and interview data from 118 ASX200 listed companies to portray how these companies are currently combatting the issue of sexual harassment and makes recommendations … Continue reading

“Stale” and “ineffective” training is insufficient to establish the reasonable steps defence

A recent decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in Allay (UK) Limited v Mr S Gehlen provides useful guidance to employers seeking to rely on the “reasonable steps” defence to a claim of discrimination, harassment or victimisation. An employer can be liable for acts of discrimination, harassment and victimisation carried out by its employees … Continue reading

Ethical Veganism is a Protected Characteristic

An employment tribunal in the UK has held that ethical veganism is a protected characteristic under UK discrimination law. In the UK an employee is protected from discrimination in the workplace under one of the nine protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010.  This includes protection in respect of religion, religious belief and … Continue reading

France: Le harcèlement sexuel susceptible d’être exclu en cas d’attitude ambigüe de la victime

Le harcèlement sexuel est défini, dans le Code du travail, par « des propos ou comportements à connotation sexuelle répétés qui soit portent atteinte à [la] dignité [du salarié] en raison de leur caractère dégradant ou humiliant, soit créent à son encontre une situation intimidante, hostile ou offensante ». Le Code du travail prévoit également une … Continue reading

France: Provocative acts do not necessarily fall within the scope of sexual harassment if the victim’s behaviour is ambiguous

The French employment Code defines sexual harassment as “repeated sexual comments or conduct that either violate the [employee’s] dignity because of their degrading or humiliating nature or create an intimidating, hostile or offensive situation against the employee“. The French employment Code also assimilates to sexual harassment “any form of serious pressure, even non-repeated, exercised for … Continue reading

Employee dismissed following long term absence due to mental illness: Federal Court finds it lawful

In an important decision last month, the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia upheld the appeal of an employer who claimed, in dismissing a client executive who had been absent from work for 7 months due to mental health issues, it had acted lawfully and not dismissed him because of his illness.[1] The … Continue reading

Facilitating HR Management: Electronic medical certificates

As part of the “Third Bureaucracy Relief Act” the German government intends to introduce an electronic submission procedure for medical certificates regarding the incapacity of employees. More than 80 million of such certificates are issued every year by doctors in Germany. Replacing extensive documentation and record-keeping duties will allow medium-sized companies in particular to reduce … Continue reading

Good Work Plan: Government issues further response and consultation to support families and pregnant women

As part of its Good Work Plan, the UK Government has recently published a response and a consultation paper on proposals which will protect and support families and pregnant women. The first Government paper considers extending redundancy protection for women and new parents.  The second consultation looks at various proposals to support families, including a … Continue reading

Crouch, bind, set: Folau to tackle Rugby Australia in the Federal Court

The termination of Israel Folau’s $4m playing contract has set the scrum for a Federal Court case which is likely to shape the landscape of religious expression and vilification in the employment context. Background Folau’s controversial “warning” on Instagram stated that “Hell awaits” those who are “homosexuals … thieves and atheists”, among others, telling them … Continue reading

Court holds that it’s not discriminatory to enhance pay during maternity leave, but to pay only statutory shared parental pay during shared parental leave.

In the UK, only female employees are eligible for statutory maternity leave. They are also eligible for statutory maternity pay at a fixed rate during such leave subject to certain conditions – and it is common for employers to pay enhanced maternity pay during periods of maternity leave. Whilst many employers do not pay enhanced … Continue reading

Ethnicity pay gap reporting in the UK

As reported in an earlier post, the UK Government introduced mandatory gender pay gap reporting in 2017. An independent review conducted in 2017, Race in the workplace, made a number of recommendations for removing the barriers to workplace progression faced by ethnic minorities including the introduction of mandatory reporting of ethnicity pay data. At that … Continue reading

Religious discrimination claim – whose religion?

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held that where an employer (or individuals on behalf of the employer) acts because of their own religion or belief, this may not lead to an employee bringing a successful claim for direct discrimination on grounds of religion or belief. The EAT upheld the employer’s appeal, overturning the Employment … Continue reading

Claim by track cyclist Jess Varnish to be heard in the employment tribunal next week

Track cyclist Jess Varnish brought a claim of sex discrimination against British Cycling and UK Sport last year, following her removal from the Great Britain Olympic team just months before the 2016 Rio Games. In the UK, protection from discrimination in the workplace is governed by the Equality Act 2010 (the Act). However, in order … Continue reading

Employees on Long term sickness – when can an employer dismiss?

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has recently confirmed that employers should take care when dismissing an employee who is entitled to participate in a permanent health insurance (PHI) scheme and is absent from work by reason of long term ill health. It held that there is an implied term that an employer will not dismiss … Continue reading

Have your say on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

The recent Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) national survey on sexual harassment has made it clear that sexual harassment in the Australian workplace is increasing.   In June 2018, the AHRC announced a National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in the Workplace in order to report, on other things, the prevalence and reporting of harassment and the … Continue reading

Dismissal for misconduct cannot be based (solely) on anonymous reports

Anonymous reports have been mistrusted for a number of years in France, for historical reasons. While anonymity enables individuals to raise their voice more openly, without being the targets of retaliation measures, it can also drift into slander. This explains a specificity of French law under which whistleblowers using ethicals lines are strongly encouraged to … Continue reading

AHRC launches national inquiry into sexual harassment in Australia

The Australian Human Rights Commission (Commission) has recently launched an inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces (Inquiry). It seems that the ‘watershed’ moment that the #MeToo campaign was hailed as, has indeed driven the momentum to keep the issue alive and for meaningful action to come from it. There can be little argument that … Continue reading
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