New research by Australian National University showing that Australian employers are racist is disappointing, but hardly surprising.
The ANU study, reported in The Age newspaper on 18 June, supported the findings of Harnessing Diversity: addressing racial and religious discrimination in employment, the report published last year by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human
Rights Commission and the Victorian Multicultural Commission.
Independent research quoted in Harnessing Diversitydetailed racist attitudes, racial discrimination and harassment in workplaces experienced by people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
The study showed that when job applicants changed their names on their resumes from Arabic-sounding to more Anglo-sounding names, they suddenly experienced much more success in gaining interviews.
“The Commission made a number of practical recommendations in the Harnessing Diversity report to change workplace racism, and is actively working with government and industry to make this happen,” said Dr Helen Szoke, Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.
“Victoria’s anti-discrimination legislation and government policies are excellent signposts. But for many migrants, the land of the fair go will remain an illusion until everyone – including employers – see human rights and anti-discrimination as realities not remote concepts,” she said.
Dr Szoke said that most of the complaints of discrimination handled by the Commission are in the area of employment, and many of those complaints involve disability, sex, race or age.
“We encourage people who feel they are being treated unjustly to contact the Commission, which is easily accessible through our telephone line and interpreter services. This is especially relevant to people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, who are more likely to experience discrimination based on race,” she said.
Contact the Victorian Human Rights Commission Advice Line on (03) 9281 7100 or visit: www.humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au
– Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission eUpdate, 19 June