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Equal employment opportunity legislation and policies: the Australian experience
Department of Management, Griffith University, Nathan, Australia, and
Equal employment opportunity 525
John Burgess and Lindy Henderson
School of Business and Management, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia
Purpose – Organisations have to respond to a range of legislative and policy initiatives intended to promote equal employment opportunity for women. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the mix of legislation and policies in Australia: anti-discrimination and equal opportunity legislation, equal pay, work and family and managing diversity policies. Design/methodology/approach – Legislation, industrial relations changes and policies relating to pay equity, non-discrimination on the grounds of sex, affirmative action and equal opportunity, including work and family policies and managing diversity approaches are reviewed in the context of changing labour conditions and social trends. Findings – Organisations are presented with a range of policies from which to choose and the result is variety in the extent and type of equity programs which produce variable outcomes for women in the workplace. Practical implications – While this paper deals in particular with Australia, the pattern of multiplicity of approaches is common to other Western countries. As organisations choose among a variety of approaches in implementing an equal opportunity programme, the outcomes for women will vary. Originality/value – The paper offers insight into equal employment opportunity legislation and policies within the Australian context. Keywords Equal opportunities, Affirmative action, Equity policies, Women and work Paper type Research paper
Introduction Support for employment equity for women at the highest level of government is universal in...