Willing to work: inquiry into age and disability discrimination

THE AUSTRALIAN Human Rights Commission is currently conducting a national inquiry into employment discrimination against older Australians and Australians with disability.

The Commission is looking for people to share their insights and personal experiences with discrimination as part of their investigation into what factors are holding older workers and workers with disability back from participating in paid work.

In particular they want to find answers about which barriers are preventing capable older people and people with disability from getting access to jobs they are qualified for.

This inquiry is off the bat of a national survey the Commission did earlier this year which found that 27% of the 2,000 people over 50 who took place in the study had been discriminated against because of their age in the last two years. It also found that such discrimination affected men and women differently.

The purpose of the inquiry is to learn more about the kinds of barriers preventing capable older people and people with disability from getting access to jobs and to help identify ways to ensure greater participation.

“The right to work for those who want and need it, belongs to everyone. It is my hope that the inquiry, when complete, will provide a road map for the way forward,” said Age and Disability Commissioner Susan Ryan, who was recently appointed Ambassador for Mature Age Workers by the Government.

Older person "I know I won't find a job, but at least looking for one gives me something to do"

Commissioner Ryan says attitudes need to change.

“We are very keen to engage with employers large and small, across all sectors to understand what changes would encourage them to include more older workers and people with disability in their workforces”.

Submissions to Willing to Work: National Inquiry into Employment Discrimination Against Older Australians and Australians with Disability are currently open and will remain so until Friday 4 December 2015.

To make a submission you can visit www.humanrights.gov.au/willing-work-how-make-submission, call (02) 9284 9600 or write to: Willing to Work, Australian Human Rights Commission, GPO Box 5218, Sydney NSW 2001.

Public consultations will also be conducted between now and November 2015. In NSW these are being held in Parramatta on 7 August, Sydney on 10 &12 August, Albury-Wodonga on 3-4 September, and Newcastle on 7-8 September.

For more information on the consultations and for a complete list of consultation locations and dates across Australia visit www.humanrights.gov.au/willing-work-consultations or call (02) 9284 9600.