Thec Equal Opportunity Act 2010 clearly establishes the Commission’s role in encouraging best practice and compliance with the Act, providing a range of new functions to achieve this.
In addition to conducting training and publishing information about the Equal Opportunity Act 2010, the Commission will have the ability to make practice guidelines to assist people to understand their rights and responsibilities under equal opportunity law.
Previously, the Commission issued guidelines on an ad hoc basis, providing advice on general and industry specific issues including family responsibility in the workplace, pregnancy and disclosing disabilities in an employment context.
The Commission’s new power to issue practice guidelines under the Act will enable us to set compliance and best practice standards in equal opportunity. Compliance with practice guidelines issued by the Commission can be taken into account in a matter before a court or tribunal.
The Commission will undertake a process of collaborative consultation with relevant industry groups and other interested bodies when preparing practice guidelines on a particular topic. The Commission will progressively prepare and publish practice guidelines on various issues that reflect the Commission’s strategic priorities and are responsive to the information needs of business, government and the community.
Under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 the Commission can give people advice on the development of action plans to help them comply with their obligations under the Act. An action plan is voluntary and is a planning document that outlines the things that your organisation will do to prevent discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation. Like business plans, they aim to ensure that obligations are embedded into your internal and external operations.
The Commission will also promote examples of best practice compliance by maintaining a publicly accessible register of action plans voluntarily developed by organisations that want to showcase their compliance. The Commission will set minimum requirements for the development of action plans that are to be placed on the public register.
The Commission may review compliance programs and voluntary action plans upon request.