SA: New equal opportunities law now in force

SA Attorney-General, Michael Atkinson, has announced that new laws to protect South Australians from discrimination have come into force.

Mr Atkinson said breastfeeding mothers, contract workers and people wearing religious dress are among those set to benefit from the new laws.

According to Mr Atkinson, the laws mean that it will be unlawful for employers or educational institutions to force workers or students to stop wearing religious dress, unless the dress prevents a person from doing a job or creates a danger.

Mr Atkinson also noted that the changes also strengthen sexual harassment laws to protect service providers who are sexual harassed by their customers i.e nurses who are sexual harassed by patients. Their employers will also have a duty to take to prevent harassment recurring.

Changes to the law include:

  • making it unlawful to discriminate against voluntary carers;
  • extending State-level discrimination protection in the workplace to people engaged as contract workers
  • making it unlawful to refuse to sell goods or services to a breastfeeding mother or refuse nursing mothers access to educational services;
  • making it unlawful for employers or educational institutions to force workers or students to stop wearing religious dress, unless the dress prevents a person from doing a job or creates a danger,. This doesn't stop employers from setting reasonable dress standards; and
  • making it unlawful to refuse a job to a person based on who their spouse or domestic partner is.

6 October, 2009

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