What is Equal Employment Opportunity

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					                  A supplement by the Director of
                  Equal Opportunity in Public
                  Employment (NSW)
   What is EEO?



                  WHAT IS EQUAL EMPLOYMENT
                  OPPORTUNITY?
                  What is EEO about?                              EEO Outcomes in the NSW
                                                                  Public Sector
                  Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) is
                  about:                                          EEO is designed to achieve these
                  • making sure that workplaces are free          outcomes:
                    from all forms of unlawful                    • a diverse and skilled workforce
                    discrimination and harassment, and
                                                                  • improved employment access and
                  • providing programs to assist members             participation by EEO groups, and
                    of EEO groups to overcome past or
                                                                  • a workplace culture displaying fair
                    present disadvantage.
                                                                     workplace practices and behaviours.
                  This means having workplace rules,
                                                                  EEO principles, such as merit selection,
                  policies, practices and behaviours that are
                                                                  help the NSW Public Sector to attract
                  fair and do not disadvantage people
                                                                  and retain the best people from all those
                  because they belong to particular groups.
                                                                  available in our diverse communities to
                  In such an environment, all workers are         deliver high quality services.
                  valued and respected and have
                                                                  Public Sector agencies also have a
                  opportunities to develop their full potential
                                                                  fundamental responsibility to be
                  and pursue a career path of their choice.
                                                                  representative and provide workplaces
                  EEO groups are people affected by past          where people are valued.
                  or continuing disadvantage or
                                                                  EEO in the NSW Public Sector is
                  discrimination in employment. As a result
                                                                  supported by the Office of the
                  they may be more likely to be
                                                                  Director of Equal Opportunity
                  unemployed or working in lower paid
                                                                  in Public Employment.
                  jobs. These groups are:
                  • women
                  • Aboriginal people and Torres Strait              A diverse
                      Islanders
                                                                    and skilled
                  • members of racial, ethnic and ethno-
                      religious minority groups, and                workforce
                  • people with a disability.                         is more
                  EEO strategies for these groups include
                                                                    productive
                  recruitment programs and access to
                  training and career development.
ISSN 1320 5471
M A Y   2 0 0 2                                                               Photo courtesy
                                                                              Centennial Park
                                                                              and Moore Park Trust
HOW DO EEO O U T C O M E S WORK?

A diverse & skilled workforce                       •   age
                                                    •   sex
A skilled and diverse workforce gives us the
skills and knowledge to offer quality service to    •   pregnancy
all communities in NSW. The Sector-wide EEO         •   disability (includes past, present or possible
Program provides:                                       future disability)
                                                    •   race, colour, ethnic or ethno-religious
• EEO data collection to track progress of
                                                        background, descent or nationality
  EEO groups and underpin EEO planning
                                                    •   marital status
• the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander         •   carer’s responsibilities
  Cadetship Program                                 •   homosexuality, or
• the Traineeships for People with a Disability     •   transgender.
  Program.
.                                                   This is the law in most cases. (There are a few
                                                    exceptions allowed — eg sometimes
Fair practices and behaviour                        employers get permission to fill a job with a
                                                    person from a particular group.)
EEO aims to achieve fair practices and
behaviour in the workplace, including:              Both direct and indirect discrimination are
                                                    against the law. Direct discrimination means
• recruitment, selection and promotion              treatment that is obviously unfair or unequal.
  practices which are open, competitive and         For example, if an employer won’t hire
  based on merit. Merit assessed by clearly         someone just because they are a woman this
  defined, job-related criteria ensures that        is likely to be direct sex discrimination.
  the best applicant is selected for the job
• access for all employees to training and          Indirect discrimination means having a
                                                    requirement that is the same for everyone but
  development
                                                    has an effect or result that is unfair to
• flexible working arrangements that meet           particular groups. For example, not
  the needs of all employees and create a           considering an employee’s overseas skills and
  productive workplace                              training when determining his or her level of
• grievance handling procedures that are            pay can constitute indirect race discrimination.
  accessible to all employees and deal with
  workplace complaints promptly,                    Every employee is responsible for helping prevent
  confidentially and fairly                         unlawful discrimination in their workplace.
• communication to give employees access to
  information and allow their views to be heard
                                                    Ways to improve employment
• management decisions made without bias
                                                    access and participation for
• no unlawful discrimination or harassment
                                                    EEO groups include:
  in the workplace, and                             • offering needs-based employment programs
• respect for the social and cultural backgrounds   • making work-related adjustments for
  of all employees and customers.                     people with a disability
                                                    • offering management development courses
Eliminating discrimination                            for members of EEO groups
                                                    • training managers to identify and
Discrimination is treating someone unfairly or
                                                      implement workplace change which
harassing them because they belong to a
                                                      supports EEO group participation
particular group.
                                                    • providing training and development for
It is against the law in NSW for any employer,        members of EEO groups
including the Government, to discriminate against   • establishing EEO group networks, and
an employee or job applicant because of their:      • offering English language programs to staff,
                                                      eg SkillMax.

                                                                                                         Photo: Ton
                                                                                                         Courtesy
                HOW DOES EEO AFFECT YOU AS A NSW PUBLIC
                SECTOR EMPLOYEE?
                As a staff member                                As a supervisor/manager
                You have the right to:                           You have the same rights and responsibilities
                • a workplace that is free from unlawful         as staff members and you also have the
                   discrimination and harassment                 responsibility to:
                • fair practices and behaviour in your           • take steps to ensure that all work practices
                   workplace                                         and behaviours are fair in your workplace,
                • competitive merit-based selection processes        including fair allocation of workloads
                   for recruitment or promotion                  • ensure the work environment is free from
                • training and development that enables you          bullying and from all forms of unlawful
                   to be productive in your work and to              discrimination and harassment
                   pursue your chosen career path                • provide employees with information and
                • equal access to benefits and conditions            resources to enable them to carry out their
                   including flexible working arrangements           work
                • fair allocation of workloads, and              • consult employees about decisions that
                • fair processes to deal with work-related           affect them
                   complaints and grievances.                    • provide all employees with equal
                                                                     opportunity to apply for available jobs,
                You have the responsibility to:
                                                                     higher duties, job rotation schemes and
                • work to the best of your ability and               flexible working arrangements
                   provide quality service to customers and
                                                                 • ensure selection processes are transparent
                   colleagues
                                                                     and the methods used are consistent
                • recognise and respect the skills and talents
                                                                 • provide all employees with equal access to
                   of other staff members
                                                                     fair, prompt and confidential processes to
                • act to prevent harassment, discrimination          deal with complaints and grievances
                   and bullying against others in your
                                                                 • give your employees equal access to
                   workplace
                                                                     relevant training and development
                • respect cultural and social differences            opportunities
                   among your colleagues and customers,
                                                                 • identify special training and development
                   and
                                                                     needs of EEO group members in your
                 • treat people fairly (don’t discriminate           team and help them gain access to training
                   against, harass or bully them).                   and development opportunities, and
                You may also be asked to complete EEO            • participate in learning opportunities and
                surveys. These give statistical and other            seek feedback to help you manage staff
                information about EEO in the Sector.                 effectively.
                                                                 You may also be accountable for achieving
                                                                 specific EEO outcomes in your agency.




                                                     The NSW Public Sector aims to
                                                     attract and retain the best people
                                                     for excellent service to our diverse
                                                     communities
ny Lyon
WorkCover NSW
 WHAT ELSE SHOULD YOU KNOW
 ABOUT EEO?
 Who benefits from EEO?                                      How does EEO reporting
 Employees benefit by:                                       work?
 • working in a fair environment which is free               Each Public Sector agency in NSW is required
   from unlawful discrimination and                          under Part 9A of the NSW Anti-Discrimination
   harassment                                                Act 1977 to plan and implement EEO.
 • equal access to jobs, training and other                  They must take positive steps and show
   development opportunities, and                            progress in achieving EEO outcomes. Each
 • fair processes to deal with work-related                  agency reports on the progress and
   complaints and grievances.                                achievements of its EEO program and provides
                                                             statistics in its annual reports to the NSW
 Managers benefit by:                                        Parliament and in annual reports to the
 • more co-operative workplace relations and                 Director of Equal Opportunity in Public
   reduced workplace conflict                                Employment.
 • increased employee job satisfaction and
   morale, and                                               Where can you go to find
 • increased productivity.                                   out more?

 Agencies benefit by:                                        Every agency has a person responsible for
                                                             EEO who can assist you with:
 • a more productive workplace
                                                             • information on programs for members of
 • improved efficiency of staff and better                      EEO groups
   services to customers through the selection
                                                             • problems with discrimination or
   of the best applicants
                                                                harassment
 • skilled staff are encouraged to remain
                                                             • grievance procedures
 • improved quality of work.
                                                             • merit selection issues, and
 Customers benefit by:                                       • any other questions or suggestions you
 • an efficient and effective Public Sector, and                may have about EEO in your agency.
 • services which are responsive to the needs
   of our diverse community.




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 Public Employment Office, NSW Premier's Department
 Level 15, 4–6 Bligh Street
 Sydney NSW 2000
 Ph (02) 9228 3572, fax (02) 8243 9491
 email: eeo@eeo.nsw.gov.au
 Website: www.eeo.nsw.gov.au

				
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Description: What is Equal Employment Opportunity