Racial discrimination complaints rising in Victoria

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Melbourne, Nov. 10 (ANI): A sharp rise in racial discrimination complaints has prompted Victoria's equal opportunity watchdog to warn employers to consider improving their workplace cultures.

In its 2008/09 annual report released on Tuesday, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission recorded a 45.7 per cent increase in workplace-related racial discrimination complaints, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Commissioner Helen Szoke called on employers to meet their legal obligations.

"People are no longer prepared to accept inappropriate comments, bullying or race-based humour which put them in a disadvantaged position in the workplace," Szoke said in a statement.

"Our experience shows that equal opportunity employers enjoy many benefits such as increased business innovation, workplace harmony and the retention of knowledge and skills.

"Our message to employers is preventing discrimination is worth the effort."

Szoke said employers who promote equal opportunity reap the rewards of increased business innovation, workplace harmony and the retention of knowledge and skills.

A steep rise in victimisation was also highlighted in the report.

This can take many forms, including demotion, exclusion from decision-making or promotion, forced resignation or even sacking.

The report also found complaints against employers in the private sector accounted for 78.4 per cent of the 2,066 complaints handled by the Commission, an increase on 62 per cent in the previous year.

Women are more likely to complain of discrimination on the basis of disability, pregnancy, carer status, family responsibilities, sex and sexual harassment.(ANI)

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