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Conciliation Register

Act Disability Discrimination Act
Grounds Assistance animal
Disability
Unlawful to contravene Disability Standards
Areas Goods, services and facilities
Outcome details

Apology

Compensation

Revised terms and conditions

Policy change/Change in practice

Anti-discrimination/EEO training introduced

Amount $2,000
Year

The complainant has anxiety and has an assistance animal. She alleged the driver of a bus operated by the respondent public transport provider did not allow her to enter the bus with her assistance dog, despite her showing him a card from the training organisation and the dog wearing a cape identifying it as an assistance animal.

On being advised of the complaint, the transport provider indicated a willingness to try to resolve the matter by conciliation.

The complaint was resolved with an agreement that the transport provider pay the complainant $2,000 and write to her apologising for the incident. The transport provider undertook to deliver training to staff regarding passengers with assistance animals, including the right of passengers to travel with their assistance animals and the documents that can be provided to identify an animal as an assistance animal. The transport provider agreed to place posters at staff depots regarding passengers with assistance animals and to advise staff that passengers with animals trained by the organisation that trained the complainant’s assistance dogs would be allowed to travel with their assistance animal.

Act Disability Discrimination Act
Grounds Disability
Unlawful to contravene Disability Standards
Areas Education
Outcome details

Compensation

Statement of regret

Amount $15,000
Year

The complainant’s five-year-old son has autism spectrum disorder, anaphylaxis, sensory processing difficulties and ADD. The complainant alleged the respondent public primary school failed to appropriately support her son’s transition into the school or to provide him with reasonable adjustments while at the school. The complainant removed her son from the school shortly after lodging the complaint.

The government department responsible for operation of the school denied the allegations, but agreed to participate in conciliation to try to resolve the complaint.

The complaint was resolved with an agreement that the department pay the complainant $15,000 and write to her expressing regret for the events giving rise to the complaint.
 

Act Racial Discrimination Act
Sex Discrimination Act
Grounds Descent
Race
Sex
Areas Employment
Outcome details

Apology

Other opportunity provided

Revised terms and conditions

Compensation

Amount $20,000
Year

The complainant is Aboriginal and undertook a graduate program with the respondent government department. She acted in higher duties for a period and applied for the role when it was advertised. The complainant was not invited to attend an interview and sought feedback from the head of the interview panel. She alleged he told her that discussing her Aboriginality in her application was a factor in the decision not to interview her and may hinder her prospects of progression. She also alleged that he said the woman who was interviewed wore ‘a nice skirt and heels’, which made her feel her appearance/grooming was being criticised. The complainant said she made an internal complaint about the alleged comments but was unhappy with the department’s response to the complaint. At the time of lodging the complaint, the complainant was on leave without pay and undertaking a Masters degree for which she had been awarded a scholarship.

On being advised of the complaint, the department indicated a willingness to participate in conciliation.

The complaint was resolved with an agreement that the department write to the complainant acknowledging and apologising for her negative experience, stating that the alleged conduct was unacceptable and assuring her that steps were being taken to prevent similar incidents in the future. The department also granted the complainant an additional year of leave without pay to allow her to complete her Masters degree and agreed to meet with her to discuss a safe and sustainable return to work. Finally, the department agreed to pay the complainant $20,000 in compensation for hurt and distress.

Act Disability Discrimination Act
Grounds Disability
Areas Employment
Outcome details

Compensation

Statement of regret

Amount $28,000
Year

The complainant injured his wrist in the course of his work as a surgeon at the respondent public hospital and lodged a workers compensation claim. He alleged the hospital treated him less favourably because of his disability, including by dealing inappropriately with his workers compensation claim, unfavourable comments by staff, terminating his employment and denial of opportunities for locum work. 

The hospital claimed the complainant resigned from his employment. The hospital said the complainant was required to perform ‘light duties’ due to his injury and no locum work was available for such duties.

The complaint was resolved with an agreement that the hospital pay the complainant $28,000 as general damages and write to him expressing regret for the circumstances surrounding his resignation.

Act Racial Discrimination Act
Grounds Race
Areas Goods, services and facilities
Other section 9
Outcome details

Statement of regret

Policy change/Change in practice

Year

The complainant is Indigenous and played for the respondent sports club. He advised he was seriously injured during a game and alleged the club treated him less favourably than non-Indigenous players with similar injuries, including by leaving him alone in the change rooms, not providing appropriate medical care, not calling an ambulance until some time after the injury, not following up on his medical care and not arranging for team members to visit him. 

The club claimed its first aid officer provided appropriate care to the complainant and that an ambulance was called once the seriousness of the injury became clear. The club said it provided support to the complainant while he was in hospital and recovering. The sport’s governing body said that, while it had no direct control over what took place in this particular case, it provided appropriate support to Indigenous players.

The complaint was resolved. The sport’s governing body expressed its regret to the complainant for feeling he had not been adequately supported. The governing body undertook to provide the complainant with relevant policies and its Reconciliation Action Plan and to consider the complainant’s feedback on these documents when they were next reviewed.

Act Age Discrimination Act
Sex Discrimination Act
Grounds Age
Areas Employment
Outcome details

Revised terms and conditions

Anti-discrimination/EEO training introduced

Year

The complainant is 73 years of age and was employed in a senior management role by the respondent metallurgy business. She alleged the business manager discriminated against her because of her age and sex, including by commenting that she ‘couldn't work forever’, asking her to nominate a retirement date, referring to her as ‘back office staff’ rather than senior management, excluding her from senior management meetings, refusing to give her a pay rise and relocating her to a different building isolated from head office. 

The company claimed the complainant commented that she would ‘not be around’ in the future and that discussions about possible retirement were conducted as part of succession planning processes. The company said the complainant was relocated due to a business restructure and not because of her age or sex. The company said the complainant was included in meetings relevant to her work and was one of several staff who did not receive a pay rise that year.

The complaint was resolved with an agreement that the complainant’s team would be renamed to more accurately reflect the work it performed, location of meetings would alternate between the complainant’s workplace and head office and the company would deliver training on equal employment opportunity to all staff. It was also agreed the company would not initiate any retirement discussions with the complainant, she would meet with her business manager weekly to discuss communication and any other concerns and she would receive a pay-rise the following year, pending overall business performance.
 

Act Disability Discrimination Act
Grounds Assistance animal
Disability
Areas Goods, services and facilities
Outcome details

Compensation

Goods/services/facilities provided

Revised terms and conditions

Policy change/Change in practice

Amount $2,500
Year

The complainant has an assistance dog to help her manage a psychosocial disability. She alleged the respondent private hospital declined her application to participate in a pain management program because she would be accompanied by her assistance dog.

The hospital said it regularly allows patients with assistance animals to participate in programs run by the hospital. The hospital claimed the area in which the pain management program would take place was small and it considered allowing the complainant to participate with her assistance dog would impose an unjustifiable hardship due to possible safety risks and impact on other patients.

The complaint was resolved with an agreement that the hospital admit the complainant into the pain management program with her assistance dog and provide her with reasonable adjustments. The hospital also agreed to pay the complainant $2,500. Finally, the hospital agreed to review its patient information publication to incorporate the complainant’s feedback, to allow program participants to provide information about assistance animals at early stages of application processes and to publish revised patient information on its website. 

Act Disability Discrimination Act
Grounds Disability
Areas Clubs/incorporated associations
Goods, services and facilities
Sport
Outcome details

Apology

Anti-discrimination/EEO policy developed

Policy change/Change in practice

Year

The complainant's 13-year-old son has mild autism and anxiety and played a team sport with the respondent community sporting club. The complainant alleged that the club’s coaches removed her son from a team, saying his anxiety and shyness with other members of the team would cause confusion and ‘let down’ the team. The complainant’s son was no longer involved with the club at the time the complaint was lodged.

On being advised of the complaint, the club agreed to participate in conciliation.

The complaint was resolved with an agreement that the club write to the complainant’s son acknowledging that he felt hurt, humiliated and dissatisfied and apologising for any actions that caused him distress. In the letter, the club also thanked the complainant’s son for voicing his concerns and advised that, as a result of his complaint, policies and procedures on accommodating players with disability and responding to complaints would be implemented.

Act Sex Discrimination Act
Grounds Sex
Sexual harassment
Areas Employment
Outcome details

Compensation

Anti-discrimination/EEO policy reviewed/revised

Anti-discrimination/EEO training reviewed/revised

Amount $5,000
Year

The complainant was employed at the respondent catering and events company. She alleged a male co-worker sexually harassed her at the work Christmas party, including by telling her he had been watching her ‘strut [her] stuff around the office’ and pinching her bottom three times. She said she made an internal complaint about the incident. She claimed the company originally discouraged her from pursuing the matter and then failed to support her during the complaint process. The complainant said she felt she had no option but to resign.

On being advised of the complaint, the company indicated a willingness to try to resolve the complaint by conciliation.

The complaint was resolved with an agreement that the company pay the complainant $5,000 as general damages. The company also agreed to contract an Employee Assistance Program for use by its employees, to review and re-launch it sexual harassment policy and grievance procedures, and to conduct training on anti-discrimination and equal opportunity law with its management team.

Act Age Discrimination Act
Disability Discrimination Act
Grounds Age
Disability
Areas Employment
Outcome details

Apology 

Year

The complainant is 64 years of age and applied for the role of flying instructor with the respondent aviation company. He advised he was not offered an interview and claimed the successful applicants were both aged in their thirties, were less experienced than himself and had been trained by him. He also said the company informed him it had believed he held a restricted pilot’s licence. He alleged his application was unsuccessful because of his age and because the company believed him to have a disability.

The company claimed the selection process was merit-based and the two successful applicants out-performed the complainant on their ability to contribute to projects and tasks across the company. 

The company's human resources director wrote to the complainant acknowledging that he found the recruitment process 'hurtful and disappointing' and that the company could have done better in drafting more precise and targeted selection criteria for the role. In the letter, the company also acknowledged that the complainant may have been able to elaborate on his own ability to contribute to projects and tasks across the company if interviewed and apologised for any distress that he experienced. The complainant considered that the company’s apology resolved his complaint.

Act Disability Discrimination Act
Grounds Disability
Areas Goods, services and facilities
Insurance
Outcome details

Apology

Donation to charity

Revised terms and conditions

Policy change/Change in practice

Year

The complainant has a genetic disorder characterised by hormone imbalance. He alleged the respondent insurer rejected his application for income protection insurance because of his medical condition and his disclosure that he had seen a counsellor following a relationship break down. 

On being notified of the complaint, the insurer indicated a willingness to try to resolve the complaint by conciliation.

The complaint was resolved with an agreement that the insurer would review the complainant’s application for income protection insurance, write to him apologising for his experience and make a $1,000 donation to a charity supporting people with psychosocial disability. The insurer also agreed to review its policies and procedures regarding assessment of insurance applications and the information provided to applicants about decisions made regarding their applications.

Act Disability Discrimination Act
Grounds Disability
Areas Goods, services and facilities
Outcome details

Revised terms and conditions

Goods/services/facilities provided

Apology

Year

The complainant’s four-year-old daughter has autism. The complainant and her family booked a holiday on a cruise operated by the respondent cruise company. The complainant said she made enquiries about her daughter attending the cruise’s child activity centre given she still uses nappies because of her disability and claimed she was informed the centre did not accept children who still wore nappies.

On being notified of the complaint, the cruise company indicated a willingness to try to resolve the complaint by conciliation.

The complaint was resolved. The cruise company apologised to the complainant for the initial decision to refuse her child access to the on-board child activity centre and agreed the complainant’s daughter would be able to access the centre during the cruise. It was agreed the centre would contact the complainant if/when her daughter required a nappy change.

Act Sex Discrimination Act
Grounds Sexual harassment
Areas Employment
Outcome details

Action taken against named individuals

Compensation

Anti-discrimination/EEO policy developed

Apology

Amount $8,000
Year

The complainant alleged a contractor working on the same construction site as her sexually harassed her, including by asking her to have sex with him on multiple occasions and making sexualised comments about her body. She said she eventually resigned from her employment because she did not wish to work alongside the contractor.

On being advised of the complaint, the contractor and his employer indicated a willingness to try to resolve the complaint by conciliation.

The complaint was resolved with an agreement that the contractor’s employer pay the complainant $8,000 and revise its sexual harassment policy. The contractor apologised to the complainant and his employer advised disciplinary action had been taken in relation to the alleged behaviour.

Act Disability Discrimination Act
Grounds Disability
Areas Goods, services and facilities
Outcome details

Reasonable adjustment

Goods, services and facilities provided

Compensation

Amount Unknown
Year

The complainant is blind and relies on screen reading software to access the internet. He alleged he was unable to book two international flights on the respondent airline’s website because it was not compatible with his screen reading software.

On being advised of the complaint the airline indicated a willingness to try to resolve the matter by conciliation.

The complaint was resolved with an agreement that the airline implement recommendations from an audit of its website to ensure accessibility to screen reading software. The airline also offered the complainant two upgrade vouchers for international flights.

Act Disability Discrimination Act
Grounds Disability
Areas Superannuation/Insurance
Outcome details

Apology

Revised terms and conditions

Named individual(s) to undertake anti-discrimination/EEO training

Training - other

Year

The complainant has nerve damage resulting from surgery on her spine to remove a non-cancerous growth. She alleged the respondent superannuation fund declined her application to increase her income protection cover because of her medical history. The complainant considers this decision was discriminatory as she works full time and leads an active lifestyle. She also claimed the manner in which a staff member of the fund disclosed to her over the phone that she was ineligible for increased cover because of her disability reduced her to tears.

The superannuation fund said the manner in which the underwriter communicated the decision to decline the complainant’s application for increased cover was inappropriate and apologised for any distress the complainant experienced as a result. The fund advised that, as a result of the complaint, the underwriter involved was counselled and staff received training to avoid similar situations in the future. The fund claimed the decision not to grant the complainant additional cover was appropriate given her medical condition and the absence of additional medical information. The fund indicated a willingness to review its decision pending provision of additional information by the complainant.

The complainant considered the complaint resolved based on the steps taken by the superannuation fund in response to her complaint.