Impairment discrimination and sex discrimination were the two most common complaints received by the Anti-Discrimination Commission of Queensland, according to the agency’s 2017-18 annual report.
Among the cases cited in the report, was an incident involving a HIV positive man who had booked an appointment to get hair implants.
“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,” according to the report.
The matter was resolved when the company agreed to provide training in blood-borne viruses for staff, writing an apology to the man, and paying him compensation.
HIV and hepatitis considered impairments
Miles Heffernan, Director of Litigation at Discrimination Claims, said it is unlawful to discriminate against someone based on an impairment or disability.
“In Queensland, having HIV or even hepatitis is considered an impairment, so you cannot treat somebody with those diseases differently, or less favourably than someone who does not have them,” he said.
More than 43 percent of complaints received by the ADCQ involved discrimination for impairment.
Eleven percent of complaints were about race, including the recent high profile case of Maori man McDuff Tupetagi, who was given a can of tanning lotion by his workmates with the words “BLACK GUY REPELLENT” written on it.
Mr Heffernan, who is representing Mr Tupetagi, described the case as one of the the worst examples of race discrimination.
“Racism is ugly in all its forms, and this was a very ugly incident indeed,” Mr Heffernan said.
“I think community standards around this sort of thing are pretty clear – what happened to this worker was repugnant and totally unacceptable.”
More sexual harassment complaints
Sexual harassment complaints increased to 13 percent, including one case involving a female council worker who was made to watch porn on a co-worker’s phone and then told to “shake hands and sort it out” when she complained.
Overall, there was a 26 percent increase in complaints to the ADCQ, with a total of 818 finalised during the year, up from 700 the year before.
“I think the increase in complaints could be because there is more awareness around sexual harassment and discrimination, and more people are now prepared to speak up and do something about it,” Mr Heffernan said.
“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.”
If you have been subjected to discrimination or sexual harassment, you may be entitled to compensation.
Please call our friendly team at Discrimination Claims today on 1300 853 837.
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