Equal opportunities policy

The board agreed a new equal opportunity policy today, 8 October 2013. Our name was updated following our name change in March 2018.

Equal Opportunity Policy

Intersex Human Rights Australia Ltd (IHRA) believes diversity and Equal Opportunity deliver advantages to our organisation.

Treating people fairly has a positive impact on members, staff and other stakeholders and enhances our reputation as an organisation and employer.

Equal opportunity principles are in line with our aim to get the best from our people and create the greatest opportunity to achieve positive outcomes for our members and board.

All staff – full or part time / contract / casual / agents / voluntary / people working on our premises, and our clients are covered by law and by this policy.

Equal opportunity

Equal Opportunity means fairly treating staff and clients.

Fair treatment is:

  • treating people as individuals without making judgments based on irrelevant personal characteristics
  • creating a work environment free from discrimination, harassment, bullying and victimisation
  • allowing all employees to work to their full potential
  • making decisions based on merit.

Direct and indirect discrimination

Unlawful discrimination is unfairly treating people because of their particular personal characteristics or because they belong to a certain group.

Discrimination can be direct or indirect. Indirect discrimination is treatment which appears to be equal but is unfair on certain people. To be unlawful it must also be unreasonable. It is unlawful to unfairly treat people because of their protected attributes, including:

  • age
  • pregnancy
  • sex
  • intersex status
  • gender identity
  • childcare responsibilities
  • sexual orientation
  • caring responsibilities
  • race or ethnicity
  • identity of spouse
  • disability
  • religious appearance or dress
  • religion
  • marital or relationship status
  • trade union activity
  • political opinion
  • social origin
  • irrelevant criminal record

It is unlawful to unfairly treat people in employment, education, providing goods and services, accommodation, clubs and associations, granting qualifications, advertising or selling land. IHRA will support an employee or contractor to arrange their leave to fulfil any religious obligations. IHRA will support, where practicable, an employee’s family or domestic responsibilities, including through telecommuting.

Sometimes discriminating behaviours are referred to as bullying. Bullying is behaviour which makes people feel offended, afraid or humiliated and in the circumstances it is reasonable to feel that way.

Bullying behaviour is unlawful.

Legitimate comment on performance or work related behaviour is not unfair treatment. Managers can give full and frank feedback in a constructive and sensitive way.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is sexual behaviour which makes people feel offended, afraid or humiliated and in the circumstances, it is reasonable to feel that way.

Anyone, regardless of sex, or gender identity, can sexually harass or be harassed. Sexual harassment is determined from the point of view of the person feeling harassed. It is how the behaviour is received not how it is intended that counts.

Sexual harassment can be:

  • unwelcome touching or kissing
  • comments or jokes, leering or staring
  • sexual pictures, objects, emails, text messages or literature
  • direct or implied propositions, or requests for dates
  • questions about sexual activity.

Mutual attraction or friendship with consent is not sexual harassment.


Victimisation is unfairly treating people for complaining or helping others to complain, either within our organisation or to the Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW, the Australian Human Rights Commission or other relevant bodies. Unlawful victimisation is unfair treatment for complaints about discrimination or sexual harassment.

Statement of Commitment

IHRA commits to fair treatment in our policies, procedures or practices in:

  • employment – recruiting, selecting, terms and conditions, training, promotion and transfer, termination
  • providing goods and services
  • offering or providing education and information
  • offering or providing accommodation
  • offering membership to our organisation
  • giving approval to qualifications

Discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation will not be tolerated.

Rights and responsibilities

Equal opportunity law gives rights and responsibilities to employees, current and potential, and to employers.

Staff – including contractors and employees – have:

  • the right for employment decisions to be made on merit
  • the right not to be discriminated against, sexually harassed or victimised at work
  • the right to be protected by their employers from these behaviours
  • the right to complain
  • the right to work in an environment free of discrimination and sexual harassment
  • the responsibility not to discriminate against, sexually harass or victimise other staff or clients
  • the responsibility to be familiar with Equal opportunity policies and complaint procedures
  • the right to report to management if they are being harassed by anyone in the course of their work.

Clients have:

  • the right not be discriminated against, sexually harassed or victimised by the providers of goods and services
  • a responsibility not to harass the providers of goods and services.

Employers have:

  • the right to control, direct and monitor work performance
  • the right to give legitimate comment on performance or work related behaviour
  • the responsibility to ensure that the workplace and goods and services offered are free from discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation
  • the responsibility to take all reasonable steps to prevent these behaviours
  • the responsibility to respond quickly, seriously and effectively to any complaints.

Our practice

IHRA has an equal opportunity policy which applies to all.

Office holders on the Board have the responsibility for implementing this policy, communicating the policy to employees and contractors, and ensuring it is followed. Employees and contractors have the responsibility to be familiar with this policy and follow it. Copies of this policy can be obtained from office holders on the Board.


The President has the ultimate responsibility for implementing this policy.

Any complaints about policy breaches will be dealt with quickly, seriously and confidentially.

In the first instance contact an office holder on the Board. They are able to:

  • hear your complaint
  • give you information on policies and procedures
  • discuss options to resolve the problem
  • refer you for more help if needed.

In most cases, any further action will be guided by the person making the complaint. If there is a risk to any employees’ health or safety at work, action will be taken by management.

For further confidential help contact the president.

At any time you have the right to contact an external agency for advice or help. The Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW and the Australian Human Rights Commission can be contacted via:

  • Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW (02) 9268 5555
  • Human Rights Commission (02) 9284 9600

Anyone making a complaint or helping someone else to complain about unlawful discrimination or harassment is protected from being victimised for complaining.
Anyone found to have breached this policy or the law, or to have made a false complaint, will be disciplined. Discipline may include demotion, suspension or dismissal.