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Loutish Lawyers
Hickie v Hunt and Hunt (1998) EOC 92 - 910
A female solicitor was a partner in a law firm and returned from maternity leave to work part time. Following a performance appraisal she was refused further partnership in the practice. Her unfavourable appraisal was based on the removal and reallocation of a large part of her practice while she was on maternity leave. Such treatment was found to constitute sex discrimination. This case demonstrates how women can be discriminated against because of their childcare responsibilities even where it appears that the employers have fulfilled their obligations.
Bad behaviour at work
Font v Paspaley Pearls and Ors [2002] FMCA 142
A female sales assistant was subject to inappropriate touching and sexual banter. The perpetrator was a homosexual male and thus it was argued that there could be no real sexual interaction between the two. It was held that conduct will amount to harassment if it occurs in circumstances in which a reasonable person would have anticipated that the person harassed would be offended, humiliated or intimidated. Thus the male was found guilty of sexual harassment
Cinema access denied
Hall Bentick v Greater Union Organisation Pty Ltd (2000) EOC 93 - 107
A disabled man could not enter a movie cinema because there was no wheelchair access. The building had undergone only minor renovations since it was built. A complaint successfully established unlawful disability discrimination because the complainant was treated less favourably than able bodied people when he tried to access the cinema in his wheelchair. It was unreasonable to require him to navigate stairs to access the cinema. The cinema was ordered to provide wheelchair access to four of its six cinemas by installing a lift, wheelchair lifts or ramps, and to rotate all films shown in the other two cinemas through the accessible cinemas.
Rental racism
Sheather v Daley (2003) NSWADT51
An Aboriginal woman had been sharing a home with a friend whose name was on the lease. The friend decided to move out and the woman requested to take over the lease. The landlord refused her request stating that he doubted her capacity to pay the rent even though the rent had always been paid on time. He also made derogatory comments about Aboriginal people. His refusal was found to constitute discrimination on the basis of race and he was ordered to pay $10,000 to the complainant.
Too old at 58?
Lightening Bolt Co Pty Ltd v Skinner (2003) EOC 93- 260
An employer dismissed two skilled employees aged 58 and 57, citing a downturn in trade after a large client had gone into liquidation. One of the employees returned to the employer to obtain a reference. Upon his return he noticed two younger men, aged 36 and 21, doing the job that he and the other dismissed employee had done. A tribunal found that there was no shortage of work for the two complainants and inferred that they were discriminated against because of their age. Although most age discrimination involves older people being treated unfavourably, there are increasing incidents of people being discriminated against on the basis of their youth.