Harassment compounded by past experience - Dec. 2015
When a man with long hair applied for a job with a tourist company, he was told that in order to be considered for employment he would have to cut his hair. He made a complaint to the Board because the ‘no long hair’ rule only applied to males and not to females. The Board contacted the company, and they agreed to review and revise the grooming policy. The man was satisfied his complaint had been taken seriously and agreed to withdraw it.
A man applied for a job as a cleaner with an agency which provided cleaning and personal care services in private homes and alleged that they did not consider his application because of his sex. At conciliation, the agency advised that there were no current vacancies for industrial cleaning, which it said most suited the applicant. The agency maintained that many of its clients wanted female cleaners and would be likely to complain if provided with a male cleaner. The matter was resolved when the man accepted a written apology from the agency. The agency also sought advice from the Board about applying for an exemption from the
Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW).
A woman was told at an interview at a management consultancy that she needed to work on her “image”, and was referred to a consultant to improve her voice and appearance. The woman paid for this training and attended several more “meetings” to discuss the position, but it was nonetheless given to a male candidate.
She complained that different standards were being applied to men and women. At conciliation, the company agreed to refund the amount the woman spent on the image consultant and pay her an additional amount as compensation for the time she spent without work during the negotiations.
A woman alleged that she had experienced sex discrimination while working for a large government department in area which had few positions occupied by women. She believed that two senior male colleagues had treated her with less respect and taken her less seriously than they would have if she were a man. The woman suffered stress and retired from work earlier than she had planned. The woman had a long history of investigations and reports undertaken by independent consultants who were hired by the department.
The matter was finally resolved at conciliation by financial compensation. It was also clear during the conference that the department had made some changes to the workplace, including hiring women in more senior positions.
A woman alleged that she was denied ongoing casual employment as a machine operator, even though she had done the work for several weeks because of staff shortages. The work was later offered to several males under 18 years of age. The complaint was settled by an apology and $1,000 financial compensation.
A woman who had acted as the manager at a club complained that she was removed from the position when the club directors decided to fill it permanently, as they wanted a man for the job. The complaint was settled when the club asked her to return to the position and compensated her for lost wages.
A woman who worked for a mortgage broker complained that when her section was closed down while she was on maternity leave she was not given a chance to transfer to other positions as other staff were, and was dismissed. The woman did not experience any loss of wages as she found another job, but she said she had suffered distress because she lost her job and had to look for a new one while she had a new baby. The complaint was settled when the woman accepted a payment of $4,000.
A woman was refused an interview for a driver's position with a minibus company - they 'didn't think she'd fit in' because she was female. When the Anti-Discrimination Board explained the law to the company, they offered her an apology, disciplined the person responsible and stated that they were prepared to consider her immediately for either a driver's or a telephonist's position.
The complainant alleged that when he tried to go into a hotel he was refused entry because he was wearing thongs, although he could see women wearing thongs on the premises. He said that when he questioned this, he was told that the women had come in before the evening dress code came into effect. He later observed another woman wearing thongs being allowed in.
The respondent acknowledged that their dress code may not have been applied appropriately at the time. They decided to re-write the code to ensure that it was gender neutral and display a notice detailing the required standard of dress to patrons seeking entry. The complaint was resolved when the complainant accepted this response.
A man alleged that he had been refused entry to a nightclub on the ground of his sex. The nightclub said that the man was not refused entry, but was advised that he could enter after the gender balance of club patrons was restored. The complaint was settled at the Board when the man agreed to accept a written expression of regret, a copy of the club policy, and an invitation to attend the club.
Three men complained that they were refused entry to a bar and were told that the management did not want to admit any unaccompanied men. The complaint was settled when the manager of the bar offered each of them a written apology, a number of free meals and a party including food, drinks and entertainment for the men and their guests.
A club member complained that she was refused access to the club's pool and snooker tables because they were for men only and 'women playing pool is a joke'. The complaint was settled when the club apologised and undertook to tell its staff and place notices around the club stating that all facilities and amenities must be fairly available to all members, whether male or female.