The State Government recently amended the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA) (EO Act) to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of being, or having been, subjected to domestic abuse.
The changes commence on 1 September 2023 and prohibit discrimination in all areas covered by the EO Act, including against job applicants, employees, independent contractors, contract workers and partnerships.
Actions will be considered discriminatory if they treat another person unfavourably because:
- the other person is, or has been, subjected to domestic abuse; or
- the other person does not comply, or is not able to comply,
with a particular requirement and:
- the nature of the requirement is such that a substantially higher proportion of persons who are not, or who have not been, subjected to domestic abuse comply, or are able to comply, with the requirement than those who are, or who have been, subjected to domestic abuse; and
- the requirement is not reasonable in the circumstances of the case; or
- of a characteristic which is commonly associated or attributed to a person subjected to domestic abuse; or
- they treat another person unfavourably because a relative or associate of the other person has characteristics which are commonly associated or attributed to a person subjected to domestic abuse.
The Commissioner for Equal Opportunity will have the power to deal with complaints of alleged discrimination on the grounds of domestic abuse. The Commissioner will also have the power to decline complaints if the complainant fails to provide sufficient evidence that they are, or have been, subjected to domestic abuse.
What does this mean for employers?
Employers should review and update their policies to ensure compliance with these impending changes. This is especially important given the potential implications of domestic violence on employees' productivity, health, and safety.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.