Debate on the need for new antidiscrimination laws to address religious discrimination continues in Australia, notwithstanding the stalling of a controversial federal Religious Discrimination Bill. Claims for greater protection for freedom of religious expression present particular challenges for employers who bear responsibilities to maintain psychologically safe and healthy workplaces for all their employees. . The present ‘general protections’ against discriminatory treatment in the Fair Work Act do not adequately deal with complaints of discrimination, largely because of the ease with which employers can excuse adverse action on the basis of their own workplace policies, but the proposals in the Religious Discrimination Bill 2019 (Cth) go too far in seeking to address that weakness. We propose that a more appropriate model for balancing the respective interests of all employees in a discrimination and harassment free work environment would be expanding the workplace bullying and unfair dismissal jurisdictions of the Fair Work Commission, to enable these kinds of conflicts to be managed in a proportionate and balanced manner.
|Journal||University of New South Wales Law Journal|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 21 Feb 2021|