Discrimination - the Data and the Gaps

“It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data” (Sherlock Holmes)

Key Points:
  • Plain English, responsive and progressive policies are a vital part of any response to workplace discrimination issues.
  • Data identifying the occurrence of discrimination is lagging behind the best intentions.
  • Despite good intentions and after years of policy development discrimination continues to occur.

​There is a genuine drive by Australian employers to improve responses to discrimination and harassment within their workplace and broader client environment. Having in place plain English, responsive and progressive policies and procedures forms a vital part of any best practice approach.

However, the best responses are arguably formed when business have a clear idea about what the key issues and risks look like and who is affected.  Unfortunately, when it comes to discrimination, the data in some areas is lagging behind the best intentions.

Current reporting levels of occurrences of discrimination and harassment are, in many ways, difficult to gauge. There are no uniform reporting requirements in NSW, let alone across Australia and the world, and, for a number of reasons, institutions and individuals are often de-incentivised from reporting discriminatory behaviour. Although a few individual employers may take a proactive approach to collecting data within their own organisation, this appears to occur infrequently. 

What both the limited data available and anecdotal evidence shows is despite decades of attempts to quell these issues, exploitation, discrimination and harassment still occur.

The question then becomes how to address the joint issues of discrimination and policy oversight and who needs to take leadership.

If you need assistance with addressing issues of discrimination and harassment in workplaces, Hicksons Partner Jennifer Parkes works alongside employers to review, develop and implement efficient, plain English policies and procedures.

Post by Jennifer Parkes 

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