A transgender woman who was sacked from her job this week is blaming the government’s new workplace relations laws.
Louise Brandish said she had worked at a car dealership as a salesperson in Ipswich, Queensland, for nine and a half years as a man. In January this year she started her transition to become a woman.
Her fellow staff didn’t seem to have a problem with it, but the car dealership’s management was less accommodating, she alleged. They suggested she find a new job but Brandish refused to leave.
Last week Brandish said she was demoted to a position with less pay and no contact with the public. On Monday this week her employment was terminated.
Ian Boettcher Motors owner Ian Boettcher told Sydney Star Observer he would not comment on the matter.
Brandish, who has two children with her ex-partner, is worried about how she will pay child support and her rent while she is unemployed.
As soon as I heard about the workplace law changes I assumed the worse, Brandish told the Star.
ACTU spokesperson Ian Wilson described the case as a shocking example of what looks like discrimination.
Her employer has been emboldened by the government’s new IR laws that have removed protections from being sacked unfairly for everyone who works in small and medium-sized businesses, Wilson said.
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.
That’s a long and expensive process, David Scamell, Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby co-convenor, said.
And it’s usually hard to prove you’ve been fired because of your sexuality or gender.
Scamell feared the new laws would have a negative impact on the LGBT community.
Under the new legislation, same-sex couples were also excluded from parental and adoption leave, while couples who didn’t live together were excluded from carer’s leave, Scamell said.
A spokesperson for the employment and workplace relations minister, Kevin Andrews, did not return the Star‘s calls before deadline.