Examples of complaints made under 18C and how they were resolved

Discussion in 'Australia: Study of submissions made, Freedom of Speech (repeal of s.18C) Bill 2014' started by PRODOS, Aug 7, 2014.

  1. PRODOS

    PRODOS Moderator Staff Member

    Supporters of 18c (i.e. those who oppose any change to s.18c or, indeed, to any part of "Part IIA—Prohibition of offensive behaviour based on racial hatred" of the RDA) claim that the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA) has been effective in curbing racial hate. That this has not been at the expense of legitimate free speech.

    In this thread we look at specific examples of "racial hatred" complaints that were submitted to and resolved by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

    The following complaints were made under Part IIA of the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA) which can be read HERE (right-click to open in new tab).

    Source of summarised complaints made: https://www.humanrights.gov.au/complaints/conciliation-register

    The summaries of complaints are grouped into six-month periods.

    January -- June 2011
    https://www.humanrights.gov.au/comp...nation-act-1975-complaints-conciliated-period

    July -- December 2010
    https://www.humanrights.gov.au/comp...act-1975-complaints-conciliated-and-finalised

    January -- June 2010
    https://www.humanrights.gov.au/complaints_information/register/rda/rda_jan_june10.html

    July -- December 2009
    https://www.humanrights.gov.au/complaints_information/register/rda/rda_jul_dec09.html
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 27, 2014
  2. PRODOS

    PRODOS Moderator Staff Member

    TRY THIS

    Below is a list of all the complaints made under the Racial Discrimination Act between January and June 2011 and resolved by the Human Rights Commission's conciliation process.

    BUT ...the resolution of the complaint is hidden by a "spoiler" button.

    YOUR TASK
    1. Read each summarised complaint
    2. Before clicking the "spoiler" button, spend a moment to consider what you think would be a resolution that is fair and just to both the complainant and the "respondent" (the accused person or enterprise) in each particular instance.
    3. Then click the "spoiler" button and read how the matter was in fact resolved each time.
    4. What do you think? Do these real-life examples demonstrate that the Racial Discrimination Act is necessary? Useful? Is working well? Is not harming freedom of speech? Is doing more good than harm? Is fair and just?
    5. Please provide us with your approval score and any comments.
      If you approve of 10 of the 41 outcomes, the score is 10/41.
      If you approve of 36 of the outcomes, the score is 36/41.
      Etc.
    Please add your comments or scores by clicking the "reply" button in the bottom right-hand corner of this post.

    Or email prodos@prodos.com
     
  3. PRODOS

    PRODOS Moderator Staff Member

    41 Complaints Made Under the Racial Discrimination Act, Resolved by "Conciliation"


    1. Complaint Summary

    The complainant, advised that she is a Torres Strait Islander, and had been employed as a cleaner with the respondent cleaning service. She said she was dismissed after she advised her employer that she had attended court regarding a benefit overpayment and was ordered to do community service. The complainant alleged her employer dismissed her because of her criminal record and her race.

    On being advised of the complaint, the respondent company indicated a willingness to resolve the matter through conciliation.

    The complaint was resolved with an agreement that the company would provide the complainant with an apology and pay her $1,500 compensation.


    2. Complaint Summary

    The complainant advised that she is of Middle Eastern ethnic origin and was employed by a large financial services company as a travel consultant. The complainant alleged that her team leader discriminated against her on the ground of her ethnic origin including by making comments such as 'I hope I am not signing for a bomb', saying that the complainant's husband's shop was a front for bomb making and asking when the next bombing of the trains was to occur. The complainant said she resigned because of this treatment.

    The team leader denied making the comments. The respondent company claimed it had investigated the allegations but they were not substantiated. The company said that following the investigation, the team participated in training on appropriate behaviour in the workplace.

    The complaint was resolved by conciliation. The respondent company agreed to pay the complainant $10,000 in compensation and provide her with a statement of regret.


    3. Complaint Summary

    The complainant advised that she is of Greek descent and was employed by a large financial services company as a travel consultant. The complainant said that she asked her team leader not to work on a particular Friday for religious and cultural reasons, as Greek Orthodox Good Friday did not coincide with the Easter weekend public holidays. The complainant alleged that her team leader discriminated against her on the ground of her ethnic origin including by laughing at her request, saying 'You are in Australia and should celebrate Australian Easter', telling her that if she was unhappy about this she should 'go back to her own country', and making fun of her surname by calling it 'the alphabet'.

    The respondent company denied discrimination. It claimed that it investigated the allegations, but that they could not be substantiated. The respondent claimed that the complainant did not raise her concerns at the time of the alleged comments and only did so after concerns were raised about her work performance. The company said that following the investigation, it took steps to minimise this type of behaviour.

    The complaint was resolved by conciliation. The respondent agreed to pay the complainant $18,000 compensation, write to her expressing its regret and provide her with a statement of service.


    4. Complaint Summary

    The complainant is of Lebanese ethnic origin. The complainant was employed as a trainee with the respondent government agency. The complainant claimed that during the course of his traineeship, various colleagues made comments to him including "f***ing wog", "Leb" and "f***ing terrorist". The complainant said he made an internal complaint concerning the alleged conduct of his colleagues but his complaint was not properly investigated. At the end of his traineeship the complainant was not offered a permanent position and he alleged that his race or ethnic origin were factors in the decision.

    The respondent claimed that although it offered the complainant a two year traineeship, it was not under any obligation to offer him a permanent role on its completion. The respondent confirmed that the complainant did make an internal complaint but said it was unable to properly investigate the matter as the complainant would not provide names of those he alleged were involved. The respondent said the complainant was not considered for a permanent role because during the course of his traineeship he was issued with multiple warnings for poor customer service and non-compliance with safety practices.

    The parties participated in a conciliation conference and the matter was resolved. The respondent agreed to pay the complainant $4,500 in general damages.


    5. Complaint Summary

    The complainant stated that he was employed as a driver with the respondent manufacturing company. The complainant has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), an anxiety disorder and is of Lebanese ethnic origin. The complainant claimed he was discriminated against on the basis of his disability by actions that included being harassed and ridiculed. The complainant claimed that he was also discriminated against by actions that included calling him 'dirty Leb' and 'camel boy' and being falsely accused of making death threats against a colleague and his family. The complainant said he had made a number of complaints about the alleged treatment but that nothing was done to correct it. He said that he lodged a workers compensation claim and was dismissed because of this and the false allegation that was made against him.

    The respondent denied discriminating against the complainant on the basis of his race or disability. The respondent claimed that it was not aware of the complainant's disabilities at the time of his employment and the complainant had not raised any concerns of discrimination during his employment. It acknowledged that following an investigation into the matter, it found that the complainant had been called 'dirty Leb' and 'camel boy' but the investigation also found that the complainant made similar comments to other employees. The respondent said the complainant was dismissed solely because he made death threats to other drivers and their families.

    The complaint was resolved on the basis that the respondent would pay the complainant $22,500 compensation and provide him with a statement of service.


    6. Complaint Summary

    The complainant, who is of Aboriginal origin, was employed as a manager with a state administered rural health service. The complainant alleged that an Aboriginal employee she supervised called her a 'white c**t', threw rocks at her house and threatened to kill her. The complainant alleged that her employer did not adequately address this and allowed this employee to remain in the workplace. The complainant claimed that she was forced to leave her employment as a result of these incidents.

    The respondent health service said it was aware of numerous altercations between the complainant and the employee she complained about, but had no evidence that these altercations were based on race or involved racist comments. The respondent advised that it conducted a meeting between the complainant and the employee in attempt to resolve the situation. The respondent said the complainant did not make any complaint about racial discrimination to management nor did she lodge an incident report. The respondent argued that it was not liable for incidents that allegedly occurred away from the workplace and/or outside work hours. The respondent denied that the complainant was forced to resign.

    The complaint was resolved by conciliation with the respondent agreeing to pay the complainant $5000 in general damages.


    7. Complaint Summary

    The complainant, who is of Asian origin, is employed as a nurse in a retirement home. She claimed that she was treated unfairly by her supervisor because of her race. She claimed that her timesheets were questioned, her work was criticised and she was wrongly accused of inappropriate workplace behaviour.

    The respondents disputed the allegations of racial discrimination but agreed to attend a conciliation conference.

    The complaint was resolved with an agreement that the retirement home would pay the complainant $5,000 compensation.


    8. Complaint Summary

    The complainant worked as a corrections officer. She claimed that while conducting a search she issued some instructions in Spanish to a Spanish-speaking prisoner and that another officer said to her "in English, in English, in Australia we speak English". The complainant also claimed that racially derogatory comments were made about her by other correctional officers during an instant message conversation on a social networking site.

    The respondent government department said it had investigated the complainant's allegations and claimed that it had not found any evidence to indicate that racially derogatory comments were made during the search or on the social networking site.

    The complaint was resolved by conciliation with the respondent agreeing to create an internet and social networking policy within five months and to disseminate it to all officers and staff. The complainant remained employed with the respondent.


    (continued ....)
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2014
  4. PRODOS

    PRODOS Moderator Staff Member

    41 Complaints Made Under the Racial Discrimination Act, Resolved by "Conciliation"


    9. Complaint Summary

    The complainant is of Greek ethnic origin and was 22 years of age, at the time of the complaint. The complainant was employed on a casual basis as a clerk with the respondent transport company. The complainant claimed that he was refused permanent employment because of his ethnic origin and age. The complainant also claimed that the company terminated his casual employment after a period of slow business activity.

    The company denied race and age discrimination. The company said the complainant only expressed interest in the permanent position but never made a formal application. The company claimed the complainant's employment was terminated because he was a casual.

    The complaint was resolved with the company agreeing to provide the complainant with a statement of service, a contact person for a personal reference and $2,000 financial compensation.


    10. Complaint Summary

    The complainant is not an Australian permanent resident but has a visa enabling her to work without restriction. She applied for a graduate position with the respondent finance company and was unsuccessful. The complainant said the respondent told her that her application did not meet its minimum recruitment requirements. The complainant claimed her application was refused because of her immigrant status.

    On being advised of the complaint the respondent company said it wished to further investigate the matter.

    The complaint was resolved with an agreement that the respondent would accept the complainant into its graduate recruitment program.

    11. Complaint Summary

    The complainant, who is of Filipino origin, was employed by the respondent manufacturing and distribution business. The complainant alleged that his boss regularly threatened to terminate his employment and have him deported and called him 'bloody Filipino'. The complainant also claimed the respondent unfairly terminated his employment.

    The respondent denied terminating the complainant's employment and claimed the complainant abandoned his employment. The respondent denied that the complainant was threatened with deportation and claimed that, in accordance with its sponsorship obligations, the complainant was told his visa would be cancelled if he did not return to work. The respondent claimed it issued verbal and written warnings to the complainant about his work performance and denied that management of the complainant's performance was connected with his race. The respondent also denied any racial slurs against the complainant.

    The complaint was resolved. The respondent agreed to pay the complainant approximately $1,200, which included waiving of monies the complainant owed the respondent. The respondent also agreed to provide the complainant with a statement of regret.


    12. Complaint Summary

    The complainant, who is of Indian origin, was contracted to work as an estimator for the respondent project management company. The complainant claimed that an employee of the respondent told him he would have to work in a different location and explained the decision with words to the effect that 'you're too brown to go to [suburb]' and 'the KKK is in [suburb]'.

    The respondent claimed that its employee denied making the alleged remarks. The respondent claimed its employee expressed interest in the complainant's ethnic origin and told him that the ethnic make up of the area where the complainant would be working was predominantly Anglo-Saxon. The respondent claimed the complainant did not wish to work in the proposed area and that it therefore suspended his contract.

    The complaint was resolved through a conciliation conference. The respondent agreed to pay the complainant $12,500 in general damages and provide him with a statement of service. The employee who was the subject of the complaint also provided the complainant with a statement of regret.


    13. Complaint Summary

    The complainant, who is an Aboriginal person, worked for the respondent government department as a maintenance worker. The complainant claimed that his supervisors called him over by whistling instead of using his name, assigned him 'bad' jobs (including lining the toilet pits after use), called him a 'black c**t', used offensive language when speaking to him and described Aboriginal people as lazy and useless. The complainant also claimed that when he made an internal complaint, the respondent told him this was part of the work culture and that some of that 'stuff' was 'OK'. The complainant said he resigned due to this treatment.

    The respondents denied the allegations and claimed that the complainant's supervisors also used some of the alleged general offensive language in their conversations with non-Aboriginal workers.

    The complaint was resolved through a conciliation process. The respondents agreed to pay the complainant $45,000 and provide him with a statement of regret.


    14. Complaint Summary

    The complainant, an Aboriginal woman, worked for the respondent government department in a client services role. She alleged that co-workers bullied, harassed and ostracised her because of her race. The complainant claimed that her co-workers made complaints about her and her manager handled these complaints unfairly because of her race. The complainant said she became anxious and depressed because of the alleged treatment and had migraine headaches and took time off work because of these health concerns. She claimed that her manager raised concerns about some of her absences and told her she would not proceed to the next performance increment. The complainant claimed that she was told she would not be offered a return to work program because she did not have enough sick/carers leave and that her only option was to return to work part-time instead of full time. The complainant alleged unlawful racial and disability discrimination.

    The respondent claimed that an external investigation of the complainant's allegations of bullying and harassment found there was insufficient evidence to support the allegations. The respondent stated that it took other measures in response to the complainant's allegations including suggesting discrimination awareness training for her team, informing her of the employee assistance program provider, encouraging her to speak to its Harassment Officer, paying for her to attend a psychologist, enabling her to change her seating position at work and granting her miscellaneous leave with pay while her allegations were being investigated. The respondent claimed that it did not consider a return to work program appropriate because the complainant was not absent from the workplace for an extended period due to injury or illness.

    The complaint was resolved through conciliation. The parties agreed the complainant would not return to work with the respondent and the respondent agreed to pay the complainant a voluntary redundancy payment.


    (continued)
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2014
  5. PRODOS

    PRODOS Moderator Staff Member

    41 Complaints Made Under the Racial Discrimination Act, Resolved by "Conciliation"


    15. Complaint Summary

    The complainant, who is of Sri Lankan origin, worked for the respondent manufacturing company. The complainant claimed that a co-worker, the individual respondent, called him 'black bastard' and 'chucker' on numerous occasions. The complainant also claimed that he made an internal complaint about the matter and no action was taken. The complainant's employment was finalised after a confrontation with the individual respondent.

    The respondent company acknowledged that several years ago the individual respondent had called the complainant a 'black bastard'. It claimed that the individual respondent had been disciplined over the matter and that since that time the complainant had not made any further internal complaints alleging discrimination.

    The complaint was resolved through a conciliation process. The respondents agreed to pay the complainant $5,000, provide him with a statement of service and have the individual respondent attend anti-discrimination training.


    16. Complaint Summary

    The complainant is of Egyptian ethnic origin and has a hearing impairment. The complainant worked on a casual basis for the respondent stationery company. The complainant claimed that the respondent treated him less favourably on the grounds of race and disability including by:
    ' ceasing to allocate him shifts while engaging new workers of the same ethnic background as the manager to perform duties which were similar to his
    ' raising issues about his performance to justify the non-allocation of shifts
    ' telling him that no shifts would be allocated to him unless he signed a Record of Discussion document containing information that he claimed to be false and misleading concerning his work conduct.

    The respondent denied discriminating against the complainant. The respondent claimed it did not offer the complainant shifts because the complainant was not available for work on the designated days due to his studies. The respondent claimed that the complainant's availability was not reliable which caused operational problems. The respondent said that new workers were employed through a general recruitment process and were selected based on their experience and work availability.

    The complaint was resolved by conciliation. The respondent agreed to issue the complainant with a statement of service, provide him with a statement expressing regret over any distress caused by the events giving rise to the complaint and pay him $1,000.


    17. Complaint Summary

    The complainant advised that he is of Indian ethnic origin. He claimed that his work colleagues at the respondent state government aged care facility made derogatory comments towards him, including 'dark man' and 'black man'.

    On being notified of the complaint the aged care facility and individual respondent indicated a willingness to attempt to resolve the matter by conciliation.

    The complaint was resolved with the aged care facility agreeing to have the individual respondent attend an anti-discrimination training and to transfer the complainant to another aged care facility. The individual respondent agreed to provide the complainant with a written apology.


    18. Complaint Summary

    The complainant advised that he is an Aboriginal person. He claimed that his supervisor at the respondent government department made racially derogatory comments in the workplace, including 'putrid Abos'.

    On being advised of the complaint the respondent department indicated a willingness to attempt to resolve the matter by conciliation.

    The complaint was resolved. The respondent department agreed to pay the complainant $17,000.00 as an ex gratia payment. The respondent department also agreed to provide the complainant with an apology, and to require the individual respondent to undertake Aboriginal Cultural Awareness training.



    19. Complaint Summary

    The complainant advised she is Aboriginal and attended an interview with the respondent company. The complainant claimed that the interview was brief and the individual respondent had a cold attitude. The complainant advised her application was unsuccessful and claimed this was because she is Aboriginal.

    On being notified of the complaint the respondent company indicated a willingness to try to resolve the matter by conciliation.

    The complaint was resolved. The individual respondent provided the complainant with a verbal apology, The respondent company agreed to provide its staff with Aboriginal cultural awareness and sensitivity training, require the individual respondent to undergo recruitment selection training and to provide the complainant with an explanation of feedback from the interview.


    20. Complaint Summary

    The complainant is of Fijian origin and was employed by the respondents as a printer. He claimed that he resigned from his employment because his manager and employer treated him less favourably because of his race. The complainant alleged that his manager told him that he looks like an Aboriginal and referred to his lunch as 'shit'. He also claimed he was not allocated overtime like his co-workers.

    The respondent denied discriminating against the complainant but indicated a willingness to try to resolve the complaint.

    The complaint was resolved with the respondents agreeing to pay the complainant $1,700 and provide him with a letter of apology.


    21. Complaint Summary

    The complainant, who is Aboriginal, said he worked as an apprentice boiler maker with the respondent. The complainant claimed his supervisor made racially offensive remarks about him including 'speaking of black sh*t, here comes one now', did not allow him to undertake a training course and did not allocate work to him because of his race. The complainant further claimed the respondent did not offer him the opportunity to work with experienced tradespeople because of his race. The complainant said that since finishing his apprenticeship, his applications for trade positions with the respondent have been unsuccessful.

    The respondent advised it took disciplinary action against the complainant's supervisor in relation to racially offensive comments he was alleged to have made, with the supervisor undergoing additional equal employment opportunity training and receiving a written warning. The respondent claimed that the complainant did not make any complaints about allocation of work or work opportunities.

    The complaint resolved with the respondent agreeing to provide the complainant with a statement expressing regret for any distress he felt as a result of the actions of his supervisor and pay the complainant $5,000 general damages. The respondent also undertook to conduct a review of the internal complaint procedure within its Equal Employment Opportunity policy.



    22. Complaint Summary

    The complainant is of Fijian ethnic origin. He claimed that during a neighbourhood dispute, his neighbour racially vilified him by referring to him as an ape and saying that he has thick ape-skull.

    The complaint was resolved with an agreement that the respondent would provide the complainant with a statement of regret.



    23. Complaint Summary

    The complainant advised that he is of Chinese background and runs a small business. He claimed that a customer was aggressive and intimidating toward him and made racially derogatory comments about Chinese food the complainant was eating. He claimed the respondent said "Chinese food smells and you know there is dead cat meat in Chinese food" and "I don't like you to eat Chinese food because it stinks".

    When advised of the complaint, the respondent indicated a willingness to try to resolve the matter and agreed to participate in a telephone conciliation conference.

    The complaint was resolved with an agreement the respondent would provide the complainant with a statement of regret.

    (continued)
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2014
  6. PRODOS

    PRODOS Moderator Staff Member

    41 Complaints Made Under the Racial Discrimination Act, Resolved by "Conciliation"


    24. Complaint Summary

    The complainant is of Indian ethnic origin. He claimed that while he was shopping in a sports store he was wrongly accused of theft and called a "f***ing Indian" and "illegal immigrant" by one of the staff. He claimed he was physically assaulted by a security guard and that photos were taken of him without his consent.

    When advised of the complaint, the respondent disputed that the complainant was assaulted or was racially vilified but indicated a willingness to try to resolve the matter.

    The complaint was resolved with an agreement the respondent would provide the complainant with a statement of regret.



    25. Complaint Summary

    The complainant, who is Aboriginal, alleged that the respondent radio broadcaster made comments while commentating a football match that amounted to racial hatred. The complainant alleged that the respondent said 'they're running like they've stolen something' when talking about Aboriginal players. The complainant said she complained directly to the respondent radio station but was not satisfied with the response she received .

    The respondent radio station claimed that the broadcaster's comments were about the whole forward line of the team, not Aboriginal players specifically.

    The complaint was resolved through a telephone conciliation conference the respondent broadcaster agreed to call the complainant directly to discuss his on-air comments. The respondent broadcaster also offered to clarify his comments during the following week's broadcast and to provide the complainant with a transcript of the broadcast.



    26. Complaint Summary

    The complainant is of Sri Lankan ethnic origin and an employee of the respondent council. The complainant claimed that during a heated telephone discussion the respondent made derogatory comments about his ethnic origin including saying that he 'should maybe go back to f***king India'.

    On being advised of the complaint, the respondent indicated a willingness to try to resolve the matter.

    The complaint was resolved with an agreement that the respondent would provide the complainant with a statement of regret.



    27. Complaint Summary

    The complainant advised that his son who is a minor, is of African ethnic origin. The complainant claimed that the respondent acquaintance, also a minor, posted racially derogatory comments on his son's social networking site page, including 'cheers my nigger' and 'ur black'.

    When the Commission contacted the respondent's parents both the parents and the respondent expressed their willingness to attempt to resolve the matter through conciliation.

    The complaint was resolved with the respondent apologising for his comments and acknowledging the impact his behaviour may have had on the complainant's son. The respondent also provided a letter of apology and a written commitment to undergo anti-discrimination training.



    28. Complaint Summary

    The complainant is of Jewish ethnic origin. The complaint was against a file sharing website on which a video was posted of a person verbally attacking a Jewish person.
    On being advised of the complaint, the respondent indicated a willingness to resolve the matter by removing the content from the website.

    The complainant agreed with this outcome.



    29. Complaint Summary

    The complainant advised that he is of Chinese ethnic origin. The complainant claimed that the individual respondent, a news reader at the respondent broadcasting company, made racially derogatory comments such as 'yellow skin, black hair and squinty eyes' when reporting about a Chinese person.

    The respondent broadcasting company confirmed that the individual respondent made the comments in question and stated it considered the comments inappropriate.

    The complaint was resolved by conciliation with the broadcasting company issuing a public apology. The broadcasting company also suspended the individual respondent and did not renew his contract.



    30. Complaint Summary

    The complainant, who is Aboriginal, alleged that a cartoon published in a regional newspaper was offensive to Aboriginal people. The complainant alleged that the cartoon suggests that Aboriginal men are unfit to take care of children.

    The respondent newspaper said the cartoon was intended to be satirical comment and was not intended to offend Aboriginal people.

    The complaint was resolved by conciliation with the newspaper agreeing to publish an apology, the wording of which was negotiated between the parties. The newspaper's editor-in-chief also agreed to offer a work experience placement to Aboriginal students each year and to work towards providing an Aboriginal cadet placement in the future and to include cultural awareness and anti-discrimination law training to all its staff.


    (continued)
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2014
  7. PRODOS

    PRODOS Moderator Staff Member

    41 Complaints Made Under the Racial Discrimination Act, Resolved by "Conciliation"


    31. Complaint Summary

    The complaint is an Aboriginal person who was homeless at the time of the complaint. The complainant lodged the complaint on her own behalf and also on behalf of her children, who she advised have multiple medical conditions. The complainant claimed that by requiring all applicants for priority public housing to wait for the same fixed period regardless of their circumstances, the respondent public housing government department discriminated against her and her children on the basis of race and disability.

    The respondent stated it was aware of the complainant's circumstances. The respondent claimed it was unable to provide an immediate offer of public housing because the demand for priority housing was much greater than the number of available properties.

    The complaint was resolved by conciliation with the respondent offering the complainant and her children rental accommodation.


    32. Complaint Summary

    The complainant claimed that a staff member of the respondent supermarket checked his bag on the way out because of his race and skin colour.

    The respondent stated that it has a Bag Checks Policy which is on display at the supermarket. It said that it is a condition of entry that customers may be randomly asked to have their bags checked and that the race and/or colour of the customers are not factors in the random selection of customers for bag checks.

    The complainant accepted a private Statement of Regret from the respondent to resolve the complaint.


    33. Complaint Summary

    The complainant advised that he is of Chinese ethnic origin. He claimed that he was treated less favourably by the respondent private taxi training school. He claimed that the respondent required him to pass a criminal record check before he could attend class, required him to pay for the course although it was advertised as being free, and made negative comments about Chinese taxi drivers.

    In its reply, the respondent said that all students are required to pass a criminal record check prior to joining the course. The respondent advised that a statutory agency provides funds for a particular course and that it was the agency that paid for the complainant's course. The respondent denied making any negative comments about Chinese taxi drivers.

    The complaint was resolved when the respondent agreed to pay the complainant $150.


    34. Complaint Summary

    The complainant advised that he is of Irish descent and both he and the individual respondent are members of the respondent sports club. The complainant claimed that during a sports competition at the club, the individual respondent called the complainant a 'stupid Irish Bastard'. The complainant said that he made a complaint to the club but no action was taken.

    When the Commission contacted the club and the individual respondent about the complaint, they expressed their willingness to attempt resolution of the complaint.

    The complaint was resolved with the individual respondent making both verbal and written apologies to the complainant.


    35. Complaint Summary

    The complainant is an Aboriginal person. He said that his grandchildren, who are also Aboriginal, were involved in an incident with other students on their school bus. He claimed that the operator of the bus treated his grandchildren less favourably in that while his grandchildren were banned from travelling on the bus, other children, who were involved in the same incident but not Aboriginal, were not banned.

    The bus operator said that an investigation into the incident found that the complainant's grandchildren initiated a physical confrontation against a younger primary school student and that their conduct breached the School Student Transport Scheme Code of Conduct.

    Following a conciliation process facilitated by the Commission, the complaint was resolved on the basis that the complainant provided an undertaking that his grandchildren would abide by the Code of Conduct and the respondent removed the ban.


    36. Complaint Summary

    The complainant, an Aboriginal man, claimed the driver of a taxi operated by the respondent company asked him what he was doing at the resort he was staying at, made a racist facial expression and said 'He's not Abo'. The complainant also alleged that another taxi driver made a Nazi salute when he pulled over.

    The respondent claimed it had no record of the complainant travelling with its service. The respondent advised that the driver, who is not its employee, denied the allegations.

    The complaint was resolved by conciliation. The respondent agreed to arrange for the driver to pay the complainant $250 as general damages. The driver also provided the complainant with a letter of apology.


    37. Complaint Summary

    The complaint advised she is an Aboriginal person and has a heart condition. She alleged that the respondent public housing provider did not offer her accommodation because of her race and disability.

    The respondent denied unlawful discrimination. The respondent claimed there were a large number of people, both Aboriginal persons and non-Aboriginal persons, with disabilities and without, who were in need of urgent housing and ahead of the complainant on its priority waiting list.

    The complaint was resolved after the complainant accepted an offer of housing.


    38. Complaint Summary

    The complainant advised her friend is of Iranian national origin. The complainant said her friend visited the respondent foreign exchange company to exchange euros to Australian dollars. The complainant claimed that the respondent asked her friend to present his passport, and when it was presented, refused to provide its service because he held an Iranian passport.

    The respondent said its internal discretionary policy stated it was unable to serve persons whose country of origin was from a UN sanctioned country, including Iran. The respondent claimed its policy was in line with those of other financial services and anti-money laundering legislation

    The complaint was resolved by conciliation. The respondent agreed to review the manner its policy is applied and provide the complainant with a written letter of apology.

    39. Complaint Summary

    The complainant advised that he is of Indian ethnic origin. He claimed that when he complained about the service he received from the respondent retail goods store, the owner made racially derogatory comments to him, including 'back to where you came from' and 'king brown ar*#'.

    On being notified of the complaint the respondent indicated a willingness to attempt to resolve the matter by conciliation.

    The complaint was resolved with the respondent providing the complainant with a letter of apology and paying him $400.


    40. Complaint Summary

    The complainant, who is Aboriginal, alleged that she was treated less favourably by the respondent real estate agent in relation to the ending of her tenancy and inspection of the property. The complainant claimed that she was intimidated when she went to the property to collect furniture. She also claimed that the respondent made excessive claims about what she owed and did not provide her with a joint inspection.

    The respondent claimed that the complainant became agitated when the respondent's staff members asked her about some damage to the premises. The respondent said that the disputation between the parties involved tenancy issues which were not related to the complainant's race.

    The complaint was resolved by the respondent providing the complainant with a letter of apology.


    41. Complaint Summary

    The complainant is of Indian ethnic origin. The complainant claimed the respondent car repairer commented on his national origin and made assumptions about his ability to pay for a replacement car.

    On being notified of the complaint the respondent indicated a willingness to try to resolve the matter.

    The complaint was resolved with the respondent agreeing to provide the complainant with a letter apologising and expressing regret for any actions that caused him distress and undertaking to rectify the situation.

    How many of these 41 outcomes do you approve of?
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2014
  8. Barboo Marinakis

    Barboo Marinakis New Member

    So far I have read the first 8 cases.

    There's a lot to think about here.

    First of all, there's the question of whether people should get money in these cases. Perhaps it would be justified if it could be absolutely proven that the treatment the complainants received was malicious and unjust and made staying at their jobs too stressful to continue, thus causing them the necessity of doing without employment while they searched for another job and perhaps even the necessity and inconvenience of having to move to another residence, etc. But it's a hard thing to prove, and none of the 8 cases seem to me to be more than a he-said/she-said situation.

    But from the bare-bones information we're given in these summaries, it's impossible to tell who's telling the truth or to know the character and the spirit of what was really going on.

    Were the decisions made based on no more evidence than what appears in these summaries?

    If so, then there was not enough evidence to conclude that the complainant really had a case.

    It's a very stressful thing to be treated unjustly at work and to be unable to get it corrected by going to a supervisor or other authority. And a business should do what it can to keep the workplace civil, not only for simple decency, but because people work better in an environment of civility.

    However, things can get complicated by a variety of quirks and failings of character in one or more parties.

    Teasing, for example, can be meant in non-malicious good fun, with the expectation that the teased person will give back as good as he got. But if the teased is extra-sensitive about the subject at hand, he may not get the intention.

    That kind of thing needs to be talked out, and a conciliation should consist of both parties coming to an understanding of intent and the sensitivity of the hurt party.

    Of course, a person who intended to hurt someone's feeling is not likely to admit it, and makes a fellow employee miserable for the power-trip of it. Despicable.

    Then there's the person who gets fired for a good reason, but who is happy to make something up in order to get revenge and money.

    Or a person who doesn't like his co-workers for whatever reason, is sick of his job, and makes something up in order to get some extra money before he leaves. Maybe he's been teased a little, and it didn't bother him much at the time, but he can exaggerate it and use it.

    Some of these conciliations awarded the complainants enough money that they could live frugally on it for several months to a year.

    There's a bit of an incentive for the scruples-challenged person to concoct a case and try their luck. And I'm wondering how evidence is weighed in these conciliations.

    Also, I noticed that the respondent is said to "agree to conciliation".

    What would happen if they didn't agree? Would the case be dropped? Or would the complainant sue?

    The question of whether this kind of conciliation is likely to do any good, that depends, I suppose, on what you consider to be good.

    When it comes to awarding large sums of money because someone was insulted with a racial slur, that seems to me like an invitation to hyper-sensitivity or outright lying.

    Victimhood seems to be all the rage these days, and if there's a bonus for being a victim of name-calling, and if you don't even have to prove it (as I said, we're not told if or how the allegations were proven, even where the awards were quite large), that can't be good. It's a call to corruption.



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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 30, 2014
    PRODOS likes this.
  9. Edward Carson

    Edward Carson New Member

    I read nine and agreed with none of the decisions on the evidence before me.

    I think I would have appreciated more info however.

    As said by Barboo, what inducement was put on the respondents to agree to pay compensation? I suspect all the complainants received free legal while the respondents did not. That in itself being an inducement to end the case as soon and as cheaply as possible.

    Even though I don't know this, I would bet anything that any instances where the complainants have been found to perjure themselves, the evidence of that would NOT be passed on to the DPP [Director of Public Prosecutions] for possible prosecution.

    Also as these situations are quite often "he said/she said" then in such circumstances the onus is definitely on the complainant to prove their case.

    Also, I would hope a government database is kept on all people initiating complaints. If someone make a real packet out of this it would certainly be an incentive to try their luck again and again.



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  10. PRODOS

    PRODOS Moderator Staff Member

    Reproduced with permission:

    Daryl McKamey, responding to this thread on Facebook write:

    ... In the big picture, I agreed with 0/41 -- as these ... complainants used the force of government to assuage their hurt feelings.

    Barring further information, it's hard to see where there is objectively verifiable harm.

    However, within the context of your post, #35 is the only one with which I can agree.​

    [i.e. This gives a score of 1/41]





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  11. PRODOS

    PRODOS Moderator Staff Member

    Reproduced with permission ..

    Malcolm Sedgman responded to this thread by email:

    “Do these real-life examples demonstrate that the Racial Discrimination Act is necessary?“

    No.
    “Useful?“

    No.
    “Is working well?”

    No.
    “Is not harming freedom of speech?”

    No.
    “Is doing more good than harm?”

    No.
    “Is fair and just?”

    No.​

    “Please provide us with your approval score”

    0/41
    “.. and any comments.”

    1. The Racial Discrimination Act should be abolished.

    2. The Human Rights Commission should be abolished.​


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    Moderator: Minor reformatting for easier reading. Highlighted score.
     
  12. Barboo Marinakis

    Barboo Marinakis New Member

    It's my understanding that in these kinds of cases, the onus get legally inverted - the accused is expected to prove that the allegations against him are false, which is counter to logic and justice.

    [Moderator: Examples or references required to support this.]

    [snip]

    I'd like to have a transcript of how these cases were adjudicated, see the process. I don't think we can appreciate the degree of justice or injustice, reason or unreason that's going on here without seeing it unfold as it really went. I'd really like to see that.



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    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 2, 2015
  13. Barboo Marinakis

    Barboo Marinakis New Member

    As to the questions posed: "What do you think? Do these real-life examples demonstrate that the Racial Discrimination Act is necessary? Useful? Is working well? Is not harming freedom of speech? Is doing more good than harm? Is fair and just?"

    Without having read the whole list, I can't give a *score*. But given the 8 that I have read, I can't answer "yes" to any of the questions. The Racial Discrimination Act, like other racial "protection" laws, opens up new possibilities to scam employers or to maliciously drag someone you don't like through the ringer and sully his or her reputation unjustly.

    It's open to too much abuse.

    Besides, we're not dealing with physical force here, or with fraud.

    [snip]


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    Moderator: Sizeable portion removed. Reason: Seemed off-topic and diluted the main point being made the poster.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 2, 2015

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