State Attorney General Kyam Maher MLC has announced the Equal Opportunity (Domestic Abuse) Amendment Act 2023 will commence on 1 September 2023.
The Act will amend the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 to prohibit discrimination against a person because they are, or have been, subject to domestic abuse.
South Australia will be the second state in Australia after the ACT to amend state legislation to make it unlawful to discriminate against someone on the ground of being or having been, subject to domestic abuse/violence.
The prohibition will apply in all areas of public life covered by the Equal Opportunity Act 1984, being employment or engagement in work (including unpaid work), the provision of education, decisions of associations and qualifying bodies, and the provision of land, goods, services and accommodation.
Following the commencement of the Act, the Commissioner for Equal Opportunity will have the capacity to receive complaints of alleged discrimination on the ground of subjection to domestic abuse and will be empowered to take steps to investigate and conciliate the claims.
The South Australian Business Chamber, South Australia’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry was invited by the State Government to provide feedback on the draft bill in October 2022, supporting its intent as reflects the requirements of the International Labour Organisation Convention on Violence and Harassment (No. 190) when it comes into force for Australia.
The convention recognises that domestic violence can affect employment, productivity and health and safety. It also acknowledges the role that governments, employers and workers’ organisations and labour market institutions can play, to recognise and address the impacts of domestic violence.
Business owners are encouraged to take preventative measures in their organisations by ensuring their policies are up to date and that managers and employees are appropriately trained in dealing with these situations.
The South Australian Business Chamber’s training services offer courses in HR and Workplace Relations, with speciality programs for Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment for both employees and managers. Find out more here >
For advice on what these legislative changes mean for your business, how to navigate issues that arise or keeping your policies up to date, members can call our Business Advice Hotline on 8300 0000 (select option 1).