Workplace discrimination has always been a part of life for many gay men and lesbians, but according to rights activists the federal government’s new industrial relations laws are making things worse.
Next week the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby will launch a new campaign, titled The Pink Ceiling Is Getting Lower, to educate the community about the recent changes and how they will impact on their lives.
The working landscape has drastically changed now with the government’s new industrial relation laws, the Lobby’s Simon Levett said.
The loss of important protections, such as the right to sue for unfair dismissal, makes it important that people get informed about what rights they have left.
The campaign will kick off with an information night on Thursday 28 September at 7:30pm at ACON.
Community members are also encouraged to share their stories of unfair treatment at the Lobby’s website, www.glrl.org.au.
The stories will be compiled and used to lobby politicians about how the laws have negatively impacted on the community.
In April, Sydney Star Observer reported on a transgender woman who blamed the new laws for the loss of her job at a car dealership in Ipswich, Queensland.
With the scrapping of Unfair Dismissal laws for small business, people sacked due to discrimination must seek recourse through the Unlawful Termination laws, whereby they must take their case to the federal court. It can be a long and expensive process and it’s often difficult to prove you’ve been fired because of your sexuality or gender.
Other changes included the exclusion of same-sex couples from parental and adoption leave, while couples who didn’t live together were excluded from carer’s leave.
In 1999 the Lobby released the report The Pink Ceiling Is Too Low, a study of 900 GLBT people in NSW which found 53 percent had been discriminated against or harassed in their current employment.
In 2002 another Lobby report found three out of every five GLBT people experienced some form of unfair treatment in the workplace.
Levett said the Lobby regularly received complaints about workplace discrimination and referred people to the Inner City Legal Centre, the Anti-Discrimination Board, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission and the unions.