Equal Employment Opportunity

EEO aims to achieve a Workforce where people's job prospects and job choice are determined by their skills, experience and abilities regardless of their sex, race, ethnic origin, age or other things irrelevant to the job.

All TAFE NSW staff have an obligation under NSW legislation not to discriminate, treat unfairly or harass people because of who they are, who they are related to, or who they associate with on the following grounds:

NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977

  • sex, including pregnancy
  • marital status
  • race, colour, ethnic or ethnoreligious background descent or nationality
  • disability, including intellectual, physical, psychiatric and HIV/AIDS homosexuality (actual or presumed)
  • age
  • Under this act homosexual vilification and racial vilification are against the law in NSW.

NSW Disability Services Act 1993

  • all people with disabilities

Other relevant Commonwealth legislation which covers TAFE NSW staff includes:

Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992

psychiatric/physical/intellectual disability which previously existed but no longer exists, presently exists, may exist in the future or is imputed to a person.

Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (amendment 1992)

  • sex
  • family responsibilities (applies to dismissal only)
  • harassment

Commonwealth Racial Discrimination Act 1975

  • race

What is Discrimination?

Indirect discrimination is where there is a requirement (a rule, policy, practice or procedure) that is the same for everyone, but it has an unequal or disproportionate effect or result on particular groups. Unless this type of requirement is 'reasonable in all circumstances' it is likely to be indirect discrimination.

Direct discrimination is treating someone unfairly or unequally because they belong to a particular group or category of people.

What happens if there is discrimination in the workplace?

If there is a complaint that a manager or staff member has acted in a discriminatory way in the workplace, the complaint may be handled through the Commission's grievance handling procedures.

If the grievances is not resolved to their satisfaction, staff members have the option to take the complaint to the Equal Opportunity Tribunal. If the Tribunal determines that discrimination has occurred and that the Commission as the employer has not taken reasonable steps to prevent it, the Commission will be liable. In some cases, individuals may bear the liability in these actions.

It is vital that managers act to prevent discrimination when they are aware it is occurring.

Who is responsible for EEO strategies in TAFE NSW?

All Commission staff have responsibility for creating and maintaining a work environment that is free from discrimination and harassment. Individual staff members are required to treat each other fairly and with respect.

The major responsibility for implementing EEO strategies lies with line managers. Commission wide strategies and targets for EEO are incorporated within an annual EEO management plan, which is prepared by the EEO Unit.

The Plan includes specific accountabilities for line managers, Human Resources Managers, Institute/OTEN/Central Support Directors, the Director of Affirmative Action, the EEO Unit, Personnel Policies Divisions, Industrial Relations Division, and Staff Training and Development Division Managers.

Each Institute, OTEN, Central Support Unit also prepares their own EEO management plans and report on their achievements annually. These reports form the basis of the Commission's annual EEO report to the Director of Equal Opportunity in Public Employment.