Workplace Law | Disability Harassment at Work

Executive Legal on disability harassment at work

Bullying, harassment, and discrimination in the workplace is against the law, even more so when the target has or is assumed to have a disability. Disability harassment at work is prohibited from all stages of employment, including recruitment, workplace terms and conditions and dismissal. Companies should focus on creating a safe and productive workplace, not just how to make profits.

If you are feeling unsafe due to bullying, harassment or discrimination in your workplace, you can try and let your employer know. If nothing happens, you can consult with a lawyer to see what your rights and options are.

Different Kinds of Disabilities

The following are disabilities that are frequently a common target for discrimination or harassment:

  • Total or partial loss of body part or body function 
  • Diseases such as HIV or Hepatitis C that may cause some malformation or disfigurement of the body 
  • Mental disorders or psychological illnesses 
  • Conditions that cause an individual to learn or retain information slower than average

The employees do not have any legal obligation to disclose their disability to an employer. However, disclosure can help employers make reasonable adjustments to support them.

Complaints About Disability Harassment at Work

If you are a disabled individual who feels some discrimination or a form of harassment, you can make a complaint to the Anti-Discrimination Board. If you are in a State other than NSW, we can guide to the correct statutory body. Any employee can make a complaint to the Anti-Discrimination Board if they think that their employer irrationally refused to accommodate their disability despite making a reasonable request to their employer for a few changes in working arrangements.

The employer may be liable if their disabled employee is harassed or discriminated against by their colleagues. The employers have the responsibility to ensure a safe and healthy working space for all their employees, including ones with a disability. They should do what they can to eliminate discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation as far as possible.

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