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Contact people

An equal opportunity contact person is a staff member you appoint to help the rest of your staff with any discrimination or harassment questions or problems before they develop.

Your contact people confidentially support and advise staff, and act independently from unions or management.

Contact people are not responsible for complaint handling, but they can assist you.

Example

Mary applied for an advertised promotion. Frank, who was likely to be on the interview panel, told her that she should be concentrating on starting a family and not a career. Mary told John, who was the equal opportunity contact person in the business, that she may not get a fair hearing in the interview and doubted if it was worth applying for the job.

John discussed Mary's options with her. She could do nothing, apply for the job and see what happened, or approach Frank or her manager about Frank's comments. John told Mary he would support her, whatever option she chose.

A contact person can:

  • be a first contact for staff wanting to talk about workplace discrimination or harassment, or complain
  • inform all staff about appropriate behaviours in the workplace, and the relevant policies and procedures
  • explain options to deal with a complaint and the pros and cons
  • listen carefully and keep a record of actions taken
  • refer to relevant support services like the Equal Opportunity Commission.

A contact person should not:

  • investigate complaints
  • mediate between a person complaining and the person being complained against
  • decide if workplace policies or procedures have been breached
  • decide if discrimination or harassment has happened
  • be managers or people who are likely to later investigate or mediate complaints.

Keep in regular touch with your contact people.

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