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President reports on Swamy v Percival

Legal Legal

A man employed at a lead smelter in Alexandria, Sydney was subjected to discrimination in employment because of his religious beliefs, the Australian Human Rights Commission has found.

Mr Ganesh Swamy, a Hindu, complained that he had been harassed by his team leader Mr Brad Percival because of his religious beliefs. 

Mr Swamy and his employer participated in a conciliation conference but the matter was ultimately unable to be settled by conciliation.  Unlike other kinds of discrimination, there is no statutory right for a person to bring an action in a Commonwealth court alleging discrimination on the basis of religion.  Where matters of this nature cannot be conciliated, it is necessary for the Commission to conduct an inquiry.  During the course of the inquiry, the Commission found that the employer had not engaged in discrimination on the basis of religion.  The findings in this report are limited to findings in relation to Mr Percival.

The Commission recommended that Mr Percival pay compensation in the amount of $2,000.

As this decision can be reviewed under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 (Cth), this is the only statement the Commission will be making on this matter.

A copy of this report: Swamy v Percival is available online at http://www.humanrights.gov.au/publications/swamy-v-percival.

Media contact: Sarah Bamford (02) 9284 9758 or 0417 957 525.