Impairment discrimination and sex discrimination are the two most common complaints received by the Anti-Discrimination Commission of Queensland.
The Commission’s 2017-18 annual report outlines the figures.
Impairment and sex discrimination most common complaints
One of the cases cited involved a salon refusing to serve a HIV-positive man who wanted hair implants.
The report says:
“The complainant’s initial treatment was postponed, but he was later told that the clinic did not provide hair implantation services to HIV-positive patients, due to the risk of needle stick injury.”
The company resolved the matter by agreeing to provide training for staff, writing an apology to the man, and paying him compensation.
Miles Heffernan from Discrimination Claims says it is unlawful to discriminate against someone based on an impairment.
“In Queensland, the law says HIV or hepatitis positive people have an impairment,” he said.
“So it is therefore unlawful to treat them differently than someone without those diseases.”
More than 43 percent of complaints received by the ADCQ involved impairment discrimination.
Race discrimination makes up 11 percent of complaints.
For example, the ADCQ report features the recent high profile case of Maori man, McDuff Tupetagi.
Colleagues gave Tupetagi a can of tanning lotion with the words “BLACK GUY REPLLENT” (sic) written on it.
Mr Heffernan, who represents Mr Tupetagi, described the case as one of the the worst examples of race discrimination.
“What happened to our client is repugnant and totally unacceptable,” he said.
More sexual harassment complaints
Furthermore, sexual harassment complaints made to the ADCQ increased to 13 percent.
One case involved a female council worker made to watch porn on a co-worker’s phone and then told to “shake hands and sort it out” after making a complaint.
“The increase in reports is as a result of people becoming more aware of sexual harassment and discrimination,” Mr Heffernan said.
“And furthermore, the #MeToo movement is encouraging people to speak up.
“There is no place for discrimination or sexual harassment in our community, and hopefully as more people make formal complaints, the message will get through that this sort of conduct is not acceptable.”
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