Understanding your legal responsibilities

Summary of topics

  • Understanding your legal obligations
  • The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)
  • The definition of disability in the Act
  • The Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act

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As an employer, it's important to know people with disability can bring new and valuable skills and perspectives to the workplace. It's also important to understand your legal responsibilities when it comes to employing people with disability; from advertising the job, right through to training and support. The 1992 Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act provides legal protection for everyone in Australia against discrimination based on disability. Under this law, employers must ensure people with disability have as much chance of getting a job as anyone else, if they are able to do essential or inherent requirements of their advertised position. The definition of the term disability in the Disability Discrimination Act is very broad. Even people you might not think have a disability, or who may not identify as having a disability may be included under this definition. It's also unlawful to treat someone unfairly because they are a friend, carer, or relative or colleague of a person with disability. The Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act applies to all stages of the employment cycle. Hiring and termination processes must be fair and transparent, and work environments free of discrimination and harassment. In the work place, employers are legally required to make reasonable adjustments for people with disability when needed. Implementing diversity and inclusion policies and procedures in your organisation, will help you to provide a framework to ensure your employment processes treat people with disability in fair, equal, and non-discriminatory way.

Knowing your legal obligations as an employer is the first step in making sure you are compliant, and know what you need to be doing.

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