Equal Opportunity

Overview

As an equal opportunity employer, the Department is committed to providing safe, inclusive and respectful workplaces, which are free from discrimination and harassment. Equal opportunity means that every person can participate freely and equally in areas of public life such as in the workplace, in education, or in accessing goods and services. Discrimination is treating, or proposing to treat, someone unfavourably or bullying them because of a personal characteristic protected by law.

Equal opportunity law aims to promote everyone's right to equal opportunities; eliminate, as far as possible, discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation; and provide redress for people whose rights have been breached.

In Victoria, the main legislation which makes it unlawful to discriminate is the Equal Opportunity Act 2010. Other relevant Victorian laws are the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 and the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001.

At the Commonwealth level, there is a range of legislation that provides for equal opportunity, including the Fair Work Act 2009, the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Age Discrimination Act 2004.

The Department's Equal Opportunity and Anti-discrimination Policy sets out the rights and responsibilities of employees and the Department in relation to equal opportunity. All Department employees are required to comply with the legislation and the Department's Policy. Managers and principals are required to ensure that the Equal Opportunity and Anti-discrimination Policy, legislation and supporting principles and practices integration into appropriate workplace plans and activities.

Reporting and Support

To report discrimination or harassment in our workplace or seek support, employees can speak with their principal or manager or the Employee Conduct Branch. Workplace Contact Officers (WCOs) are a good point of contact to find out who is best to talk to for your situation. Further information is available using the links below.

Support is available to employees, principals and managers involved in reporting and managing a discrimination or harassment complaint, even after the matter has been resolved.

Employees can also access four free and confidential counselling sessions through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) on 1300 361 008. The EAP also has a dedicated Manager Assist telephone advisory service to support principals and managers to access management support and coaching. Further information about Employee Safety and Support Services is available using the link below.

An e-module has been created to help you understand Equal Opportunity and how representative behaviours apply to your role.  This module is one of a suite of modules linked to the Department's commitment to respectful workplaces.

Other Resources

Policy and Guidelines

  • Equal Opportunity and Anti-Discrimination Policy (PDF) (WORD)
  • Equal Opportunity Guidelines for Victorian Government Schools (PDF)

Further/additional information

Legislation

Related Topics

Useful Links

Contacts

Email: diversity@edumail.vic.gov.au