Wielding the big stick – Lessons for enforcing anti-discrimination law from the Fair Work Ombudsman

Allen, Dominique 2015, Wielding the big stick – Lessons for enforcing anti-discrimination law from the Fair Work Ombudsman, Australian journal of human rights, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 119-142.

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Title Wielding the big stick – Lessons for enforcing anti-discrimination law from the Fair Work Ombudsman
Author(s) Allen, Dominique
Journal name Australian journal of human rights
Volume number 21
Issue number 2
Start page 119
End page 142
Total pages 24
Publisher LexisNexis
Place of publication Chatswood, NSW
Publication date 2015
ISSN 1323-238X
Keyword(s) discrimination
fair work
systemic investigation
Summary Anti-discrimination law is enforced by a person who has experienced discrimination by lodging a complaint at a statutory equal opportunity agency. The agency is responsible for receiving and resolving discrimination complaints and educating the community; it does not play a role in enforcing the law. The agency relies on ‘carrots’ to encourage voluntary compliance, but it does not wield any ‘sticks’. This is not the case in other areas of law, such as industrial relations, where the Fair Work Ombudsman is charged with enforcing the law — including the prohibition of discrimination in the workplace — and possesses the necessary powers to do so. British academics Hepple, Coussey and Choudhury developed an enforcement pyramid for equal opportunity. This article shows that the model used by the Fair Work Ombudsman reflects what Hepple, Coussey and Choudhury propose, while anti-discrimination law enforcement would be represented as a flat, rectangular structure. The article considers the Fair Work Ombudsman’s discrimination enforcement work to date and identifies some lessons that anti-discrimination law enforcement can learn from its experience.
Language eng
Field of Research 1801 Law
1602 Criminology
1608 Sociology
180118 Labour Law
180114 Human Rights Law
Socio Economic Objective 940405 Law Reform
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30081687

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Law
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