Developing your policy
You need a clear, written policy for a discrimination and harassment-free workplace. Keep it short and simple. "This business is an equal opportunity employer" does not constitute a policy statement.
Consult with your staff and customers, and talk to employer groups, other similar businesses, unions and the Equal Opportunity Commission to get your policy right.
Your policy can:
- state why you support equal opportunity, listing the benefits to service and productivity
- state who the policy covers
- define direct and indirect discrimination, sexual harassment, bullying and victimisation and state that they are against the law
- commit to not tolerating such behaviour in your workplace
- state staff and employer responsibilities and rights
- explain what to do if discrimination or harassment happens
- explain that people who breach the policy or the law will be disciplined
explain the complaint procedure
- guarantee protection from victimisation
- state where people can get further help
- be supported and signed by the chief executive officer.
You can download a sample equal opportunity policy below to use as a starting point. Adapt the sample to suit your business.
Also develop a complaint procedure so that everyone is clear about what happens if a problem arises.
A code of conduct may also be useful. This outlines the conduct that is expected of everyone in your business. Very small businesses may be able to use a code of conduct rather than a policy. A sample code of conduct can be downloaded below.
Introducing a policy is the first step. Then everyone needs to know about the policy and what it means for them.