Employee Rights and Obligations


Worker Privacy 

Personal Information

Employees have the right to privacy, confidentiality and to be treated with respect and in line with the requirements of relevant legislation. Employees privacy should be acknowledged.

What type of information is collected?

Only collect information directly relevant to the employment of the worker and to ensure quality support. Information gathered includes past work experience, administrative information e.g. tax file number, superannuation details, emergency contacts, bank details, culturally specific needs, age, gender, qualifications, workshops attended or complaints. Ongoing information includes performance apprasial, feedback and complaints.

Why is this Information Gathered?

Information collected is to enable the provision of quality support, tailored to individual needs.  Employees are entitled to ask what information is being collected and how the information will be used. 

Where is Your Information Stored?

Personal information should be recorded and stored so as to protect unauthorised access in a locked storage space.  Information should be accurate, comprehensive, well organised, current, legible and relevant.

Providing Information About Employees to Other Government or Non-Government Services?

Only with consent.  If consent was given, information would be specific and relevant only to the request or requirement of the situation.

How Can Employees Access Their Personal Information?

Employees are entitled to request access to their information.  Employees can request to have information that is inaccurate, incomplete or out-of-date corrected.

Complaints Process?

If an employee feels information has not been responsibly and transparently collected, stored or used, these concerns should be addressed promptly.

Equal Opportunity

Under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991, discrimination in employment on the following grounds is against the law:

  • Race
  • Gender
  • Physical, intellectual or psychological impairment
  • Marital Status
  • Parental Status
  • Religious or political beliefs
  • Lawful sexual activity or sexual preference

Any reports of discrimination, sexual harassment and racial vilification will be treated seriously and investigated accordingly.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is any form of sexual attention that is unwelcome.  It is against the law.  There is no onus on the person being harassed to say that he/she finds the conduct objectionable.  All employees are responsible for their behaviour.

Racial and Religious Vilification

Racial and Religious vilification is any behaviour that happens in a public place and incites others to hate a person or group because of their religion or race.

Recruitment

All employees should be treated on their merits and valued according to how well they perform their duties and meet the standards and principals set. 

Exemptions

There is an exemption under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 in the provision of residential domestic services.  Under the act, it is not unlawful for a person to discriminate in the arrangements made for deciding who should be offered work; or in deciding who should be offered work; or in failing to offer work; or in dismissing a worker; if the work is to perform domestic services at the person's home.  This exemption does not apply to discriminate on the basis of race. 

Making a Complaint

Employees may have grievances or issues with, for examples:

  • Another employee
  • An instruction or request outside of their role
  • A person you have been supporting
  • The person directing the support, a family member or friend

Employees may need advice about how to deal with a complaint.  Complaints should be taken seriously and all parties aim to resolve the issue promptly and fairly.

While the process of dealing with a complaint can be difficult for all concerned it can proved an opportunity to revisit systems and practices with a view to improving the way service is provided.  Feedback from employees is an invaluable contribution to that process and should be welcomed.  There should be no retributive repercussion from any action an employee takes. 

The nature and severity of a complaint can vary enormously.  Often it can be dealt with informally over the phone - acting as soon as the concern arises is often the best course of action. Serious complaints require a more formal process.

Complaints should be dealt with confidentially.  Only those with direct involvement in the complaint should by privy to the information.  Permission should be sought to talk to others about the complaint unless if someone is at risk of serious harm or if a criminal offense has occurred. 

Abuse, Neglect and Assault

Every person has a right to live a life free from the fear of abuse, threats and assaults.  This basic human right is embedded in United Nations Rights of the Disabled Person 1975 and the following State and Commonwealth legislation:

  • Commonwealth Disability Services Act 1992
  • Commonwealth Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986
  • Queensland Anti Discrimination Act 1991
  • Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992
  • Powers of Attorney Act 1998
  • Guardianship and Administration Act 2000
  • Disability Services Act Queensland 2006
  • Child Protection Act 1991

Definitions

Abuse: The infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or cruel punishment with resulting physical harm, pain, mental anguish, or death; sexual abuse or exploitation; or the willful deprivation of essential needs.

Neglect: An act or omission that threatens a person's health or welfare by placing the person at risk of physical or mental injury or impairment, deprivation of essential needs or lack of protection from these. 

Assault: A violent attack of any sort; attempt or threat to do physical, emotional or sexual violence to another. 

Employee Obligations

Alleged or suspected abuse, assault or neglect of a person may come to the attention of employees in various ways.  Employees may witness an accident, the person who has sustained the abuse/neglect reports it to an employee, an allegation is reported by a family member, member of the public, health care provider or employees may observe physical or behavioural indicators or circumstantial evidence that abuse, neglect or assault may have occurred. 

All employees have an obligation to respond to and report actual or suspected abuse, assault or neglect of a person in their care at the time.  An employee who becomes aware of an incident of abuse, neglect or assault or reasonably suspects abuse, assault or neglect is required to ensure the safety and best interests of the person are paramount in any action taken and report the matter. 

Employee Rights

An employee also has a right to be protected from abuse, neglect an assault by an employer.  For more information about an employee's rights to protection from harassment and bullying read Workplace Harassment and Bullying

For general information about the National Employment Standards and what you can expect as an employee you can register for free to watch a webinar from Corney and Lind Lawyers.


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