Workplace Inequalities

Topics: Employment, Discrimination, Trade union Pages: 5 (1607 words) Published: October 11, 2008

Every person has the right to be fairly treated in their daily lives and the workplace is no exception. Discrimination in the workforce has always been a well debated topic. Throughout history many different groups have faced inequalities in the workplace, and over time, with the changes in social views, different measures have been undertaken, by the different levels involved in employment, to eradicate these adversities. Unfortunately inequality during employment is still a major crisis for many people. This essay looks at three different groups facing difficulty in the workplace due too discrimination and the response by government, unions, employers and other groups to these inequalities. Pregnant women in the workforce have always been a delicate topic. With recent legislation changes and advances in ‘pregnancy in the workforce’ campaigns, the inequality faced by many women who fall pregnant while under employment has begun to change, however, many lobbyists believe that employers are still not doing enough to protect their employees rights during such a serious time in a women’s life. Teenagers’ entering the workforce has also become a serious topic. During such a pivotal time in a young teenagers life, with school and social activities, young people can often face inequalities in their employment and without prior knowledge of the workforce, can often be unknowingly subjected to mistreatment. On the other end of the timeline, aged workers are often subject to unfair treatment and ridicule from their employers and co-workers. In an increasingly aging country, Australia has had to bring age discrimination to the forefront of workplace reform. Although discrimination and inequalities in the workplace are constantly being discouraged and sought out, most people will feel mistreated in the workplace at some point in their working lives. The Australian Government, unions and employers are constantly working towards better equality for employees in the workforce. Many different initiatives have been put in place to stamp out workplace discrimination and these groups will continue to work towards better rights for workers.

Pregnancy is an incredibly important time for those involved. Women face a vast range of emotional stress when dealing with a pregnancy and many women have to continue working during much of their pregnancy to cope with the coming financial burden of raising a new born child. Around 80% of women in Australia are employed prior to the birth of their first child [1]. With the known risk of emotional stress on women’s pregnancy, limiting stress in the workplace is serious priority for employers. Unfortunately recent studies into the subject have found that “pregnancy-related workplace discrimination (in Australia) is disturbingly prevalent” [2]. A University of Melbourne study into the entitlements of workers during pregnancy and the psychological welfare of pregnant women in the workplace, found that, of the 165 employed pregnant women surveyed; Despite current legislation requiring all Australian employees to have access to unpaid maternity leave after 12 months of continuous employment, only 60% had the option. Only 46% had access to paid maternity leave, forcing others to rely on sick or annual leave or forego income after childbirth. Almost one in five women claimed pregnancy-related discrimination in the form of negative or offensive comments as well as being excluded from promotion or training by their employer [3]. Many groups are outraged at this unfair treatment for pregnant women during employment. Considering the severity of the occasion, a pregnant woman’s health and wellbeing should be of great concern to an employer. The government has sought to stem this trend of discrimination with current legislation protecting pregnant women from unfair treatment in the workforce. EOWA, the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency, is a government...
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