As a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), ADAS is absolutely committed to complying with Commonwealth and State legislation and regulatory requirements relevant to its operations. ADAS has developed policies and procedures to assist in maintaining compliance with the relevant legislation and regulations, and is required under the terms of its registration as an RTO to ensure that information is given to clients about current legislation that significantly effects their participation in Vocational Education and Training (VET), and in particular in regard to:
Further general information on state and territory legislation is available at: www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/
Further information on Commonwealth legislation is available at: www.comlaw.gov.au
A good source of legal information and help with legal issues go to: www.lawaccess.nsw.gov.au
Occupational heath and safety laws apply to the workplace at all times including during periods of training. It is important to ensure that apprentices, trainees and other new staff understand principles of safety and health as they relate to the workplace.
Occupational health and safety (OHS) legislation describes the general requirements necessary to ensure a safe and healthy workplace, and is designed to reduce the number of injuries in the workplace by imposing responsibilities on individuals and corporations.
Employers, self-employed people, those in control of work premises, machinery and substances, designers, manufacturers, suppliers and workers all have obligations with regard to workplace health, safety and welfare.
Although it differs in detail from state to state, in general Australian OHS legislation is aimed essentially achieving the same ends.
In general, employers must:
Employees also have responsibilities under the health and safety laws. Typically, employees are required to:
As an employee, if you don’t do these things, you can be disciplined by your employer under your industrial award or enterprise agreement, or you could be prosecuted under the health and safety law in your State or Territory.
As well as employers and employees, other people who have workplace health and safety responsibilities include people who sell materials and equipment, or who provide services to a workplace (e.g. maintenance, repairs, cleaning, building and construction). They must ensure that the goods they design, make, supply, install, maintain or repair will not cause injury or damage the health of people in workplaces.
OHS is regulated by Commonwealth and state and territory government bodies. General information on their roles and responsibilities can be found at the following relevant website:
Workplace harassment, victimisation and bullying are abuses or misuses of power characterised by aggressive behaviour or actions that intimidate, humiliate and/or undermine a person or group. Power can be due to organisational level, or occupation of any position having standing within the organisation, organisational knowledge or experience, gender, age or physical power. Workplace harassment, victimisation and bullying are unacceptable and are not to be tolerated under any circumstances. They may cause emotional damage, reduce morale and subsequently the loss of trained and talented employees.
Federal and state anti-discrimination/equal opportunity laws protect you from harassment and victimisation including: age; breastfeeding or pregnancy status; career status; disability or impairment; gender identity; being a union member (or not); sexual activity; marital status; sexual orientation; physical features (not including ‘accessories ’ like tattoos or piercing); political activity or belief; race; religious belief; gender.
Harassment is behaviour that another person does not want and does not return and or offends, embarrasses or scares that person.
Harassment is against the law if it is about a person’s disability, sex, race, colour, national or ethnic origin, any element covered in EEO legislation, or is of a sexual nature.
Harassment refers to behaviour towards an individual or group of individuals and could be defined as the repeated less favourable treatment of a person by another or others in the workplace, which may be considered unreasonable and inappropriate workplace practice. It includes behaviour that intimidates, offends, degrades or humiliates in circumstances where a reasonable person would have anticipated the possibility that the other person would be offended, humiliated or intimidated by the conduct.
Often harassment in the workplace involves a misuse of power. This might be a person in authority who intentionally undermines, humiliates or destroys the confidence and self-esteem of an individual or group. Harassment may occur between people of any gender. It can also occur between co-workers, one or more of whom may deliberately demean, offend or intimidate a colleague, between students and between students and staff.
Under federal and state legislation unlawful harassment occurs when someone is made to feel intimidated, insulted or humiliated because of their race, colour, national or ethnic origin; sex; disability; sexual preference; or some other characteristic specified under anti-discrimination or human rights legislation. It can also happen if someone is working in a ‘hostile’ – or intimidating – environment.
Sexual Harassment is behaviour of a sexual nature that is unwelcome, unsolicited and unreciprocated. The gender and sexual orientation of the perpetrator or victim is irrelevant.
Examples of Harassing Behaviour
Harassment may be subtle or overt and includes, but is not limited to, the following forms of behaviour:
Victimisation occurs when a person does an act, or threatens to do an act against a person because:
Bullying is a form of harassment. Bullying behaviour is based on the misuse of power in human relationships. From an occupational health and safety perspective, workplace bullying is defined as: repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed towards a person or group of persons at a workplace, which creates a risk to health and safety.
“Unreasonable behaviour” is behaviour that is offensive, humiliating, intimidating, degrading or threatening. It includes, but is not limited to:
Examples of bullying include yelling, abusive language, continually criticising someone, isolating or ignoring someone, imposing unnecessary pressure with overwork or impossible deadlines and sabotaging someone’s work, or their ability to do their job by withholding vital information and resources.
In Australia, it is unlawful to discriminate in employment on the grounds of race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin. Under federal and state legislation unlawful discrimination occurs when someone, or a group of people, is treated less favourably than another person or group because of their race, colour, national or ethnic origin; sex, pregnancy or marital status; age; disability; religion; sexual preference; membership of a trade union activity; or some other characteristic specified under anti-discrimination or human rights legislation.
Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth). In addition, the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) makes it unlawful to discriminate in employment against a person on the grounds of their sex, race, marital status, homosexuality, disability or age.
Under the NSW Act, employers must ensure that all staff are treated without discrimination. For example, a person’s colour or religion should not influence how they are treated in either the workplace or any sphere of public life. This means employers are responsible for ensuring that workplace rules, policies and procedures do not disadvantage any one group. (For more information, contact the Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW.)
The Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 addresses discrimination issues related to:
Racial discrimination is the act of treating a person unfairly because of their race, colour, nationality, descent, ethnicity or ethno-religious background. Racial harassment, a form of discrimination, is any form of unwelcome, unsolicited and unreciprocated behaviour that denigrates someone, offends them, or humiliates them on the grounds of their race, colour, nationality, descent, ethnicity or ethno-religious background. Racial vilification is generally a public act that could incite others to hate, have contempt for, or severely ridicule a person or group of people because of their race, colour, nationality, descent, ethnicity or ethno-religious background. All races, ethnic and ethno-religious groups are covered by the laws on racial discrimination, harassment and vilification.
All types of racial discrimination, harassment and vilification are unlawful. ADAS is required by these laws to ensure the absence of racial discrimination, harassment and vilification. ADAS has a responsibility to ensure that employees and students are made aware of what constitutes acceptable behaviour; to deal with complaints sensitively and quickly, and to inform staff and students of their options for seeking redress.
Students or staff who believe they have been subjected to racial discrimination, harassment or vilification have the option to seek assistance from the relevant Anti-Discrimination Board and/or the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commissioner who will advise them of their rights under the legislation.
Federal, State and Territory laws
The laws protecting individuals from being treated unfairly because of their race, colour, nationality, descent, ethnicity or ethno-religious background are the Federal Racial Discrimination Act (1975), and the Racial Hatred Act (1995). Each state and territory has specific legislation cover in this area (see below for further information).
Disability discrimination happens when people with a disability are treated less fairly than people without a disability. Disability discrimination also occurs when people are treated less fairly because they are relatives, friends, carers, co-workers or associates of a person with a disability.
A person with a disability has a right to the same employment opportunities as a person without a disability.
The Federal Disability Discrimination Act 1992 provides protection for everyone in Australia against discrimination based on disability. It encourages everyone to be involved in implementing the Act and to share in the overall benefits to the community and the economy that flow from participation by the widest range of people. The Act makes it against the law for an employer to discriminate against someone on the grounds of disability.
Employers must offer equal employment opportunities to everyone. This means that if a person with a disability can do the essential activities or “inherent requirements” of a job, he or she should have just as much chance to do that job as anyone else.
Employers should make employment decisions based on a person’s ability to perform the essential activities of the job. They should not make assumptions about what a person can or cannot do because of a disability.
For example, an essential activity or “inherent requirement” for a telephonists job is the ability to communicate by telephone. But it is not an “inherent requirement’ to hold the phone in the hand.
Employers should choose the best person for the job, whether that person has a disability or not. People with a disability are protected against discrimination in:
Further information and guidance can be found in A brief guide to the Disability Discrimination Act at www.hreoc.gov.au/disability_rights/dda_guide/dda_guide.htm
Vocational Education and Training (VET), in Australia is regulated by: