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Equal Employment Opportunity & Anti-discrimination Policy




1. Purpose

This document outlines Evolve Housing’s position and commitment to the provision of equal employment opportunities in a discrimination-free workplace and aids to ensure compliance with its legislative obligations.

2. Scope

This policy applies to Evolve Housing employees, volunteers, contractors and Board of Directors. It also applies to current or potential employees and customers or stakeholders of Evolve Housing.

The policy applies when providing access to opportunities related to all stages of the employment life cycle, including: recruitment, terms of employment, development, training, promotion, secondment and termination of employment.

3. Definitions

  • Employee – any person employed by, or engaged to represent, Evolve Housing.

4. Policy Statement

Evolve Housing is an equal employment opportunity employer committed to the implementation of fair, equitable and non-discriminatory employment and operational practices. Evolve Housing considers all types of workplace inequality and discrimination to be unacceptable and has a zero tolerance in this regard. Disciplinary action will be taken against any employee who breaches this policy, regardless of their position in the company.

Evolve Housing is committed to ensuring every current and potential employee will be given a fair and equitable chance to compete for appointment, promotion, transfer, training, development and terms of employment and to pursue their career aspirations as effectively as others and will not be unfairly treated on the basis of a trait that could be considered as discrimination.

Evolve Housing is committed to creating a work environment which is free from discrimination and where employees are treated with dignity, courtesy and respect. The company encourages the reporting of behaviour which breaches this policy and guarantees protection from any victimisation or reprisal.

In principle, it is the Company’s role to:

  • Eliminate discrimination in all practices and actions;
  • Appraise employees on the basis of merit by objective assessment of the employees’ qualification(s), experience, competency, ability and potential;
  • Promote appropriate standards of conduct at all times;
  • Treat all discrimination complaints in a serious, sensitive, fair, impartial, timely and confidential manner;
  • Take reasonable action to ensure that misconduct does not continue; and
  • Ensure complainants and witnesses are protected from victimisation or reprisals.

This policy is subject to change from time to time at the discretion of Evolve Housing. A breach of this policy by an individual or group will be addressed by management and may lead to disciplinary action being taken.

4.1 Equal Employment Opportunity

Equal employment opportunity (“EEO”) consists of ensuring that all employees are given equal access to opportunities through all stages of the employment life cycle without regard to any factor not related to their competency or ability to perform their duties.

Under EEO and Work Health and Safety legislation, discrimination is against the law. As an EEO employer, Evolve Housing will ensure that the work environment is free from unlawful discrimination and all practices will be developed in accordance with relevant EEO and human rights legislation, including the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) (“ADA”).

4.2 Discrimination

Unlawful discrimination occurs when a person or a group of people with a particular attribute is treated less favourably than a person or group without the attribute or with a different attribute under similar circumstances. Discrimination can also involve seeking to impose a condition or requirement on a person with an attribute who does not or cannot comply, while people without that attribute do or can comply. Discrimination can be either direct or indirect and can be defined in the following way:

Discrimination occurs when a person is discriminated against because of:

  • Direct discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably than another person in the same or similar circumstances on any of the grounds or attributes covered by equal opportunity legislation.
  • Indirect discrimination involves instances where certain groups are unreasonably excluded or otherwise disadvantaged by apparently neutral policies, practices or procedures.
  • Race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin, as defined under the Racial Discrimination Act 1975:
  • Sex, marital status or pregnancy as defined under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984;
  • A disability as defined under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992;
  • Age as defined under the Age Discrimination Act 2004; or
  • Other grounds as defined under the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 or other related legislation.

4.3 A Genuine Occupational Qualification

Particular exemptions mean that not all forms of discrimination are against the law in all circumstances. The legislation allows exemptions when they are welfare or equal opportunity measures designed to benefit or promote equal opportunity for a member of a disadvantaged group or a person with particular needs, (eg. allocating a parking space for people with a disability).

The law recognises that in limited circumstances it is acceptable to target jobs or opportunities towards a particular group of people in situations where it would otherwise be unlawful. In these cases, a ‘genuine occupational qualification’ (“GOC”), such as gender, race or age, is identified and an exception justified by the Company.

In such cases, to comply with the ADA, any internal or external advertising of the job or opportunity should be accompanied by a GOC-specific statement, referencing the relative section of the ADA. For example, “Evolve Housing considers being a man/woman is a genuine occupational qualification for this position/opportunity under Section 31 of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW).” In some cases, an exemption needs to be applied for.

5. Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the:
Chief Executive Officer to ensure this policy and associated procedures are applied and committed to by the Business Leadership Team.
People & Culture Department to provide Team Leaders with timely policy-related support and guidance and deliver relevant training to ensure awareness of expected EEO and anti-discrimination practices.
Leadership Team/Team Leaders to ensure familiarity with this policy and related procedures, to commit to following them accordingly and where relevant, promote the policy to their team. Additionally, leaders commit to:

  • Promoting and modelling appropriate behaviour;
  • Making all decisions related to appointment, promotion and career development without regard to any matters other than the individual’s inherent ability to carry out the position;
  • Endorsing and periodically promoting the policy to team members and new starters; and
  • Treating complaints seriously and ensuring immediate action is taken to investigate and resolve the issue.

Employees to ensure they comply with this policy, be responsible for their own behaviour and if required, attend relevant training as provided by the company from time to time. Additionally, employees commit to:

  • Treating all colleagues, customers and stakeholders with respect and professionalism without regard to non-relevant criteria or distinctions;
  • Familiarising themselves with this policy and maintaining acceptable standards of conduct;
  • Attending related training as provided by the company from time to time;
  • Raising concerns or observations of workplace discrimination taking place; and
  • Maintaining complete confidentiality if involved in an investigation or a complaint.

6. Breaches of this Policy

Any employee found to have engaged in unfair or discriminatory conduct will be deemed to be in breach of this policy and will face disciplinary action proportionate to the breach and its consequences, which may result in termination of employment. Discrimination in the workplace can also lead to prosecutions under equal opportunity and anti-discrimination legislation.

7. Dealing with unacceptable behaviour

7.1 Dispute & Grievance Handling Procedures

Employees who feel they are being treated unfairly as a result of discrimination should refer to the Dispute and Grievance Policy and the Dispute and Grievance Procedure to understand the methods available for complaint resolution. In all instances the employee should firstly notify their direct manager of any concerns they may have unless it is not practicable to do so.

7.2 Employee Assistance Program

Evolve Housing has an Employee Assistance Program (“EAP”) which includes the provision of free, independent and confidential counselling and advice services to employees. Details about access and services are outlined in the EAP Fact Sheet.

7.3 Equal Opportunity Commission

Employees are expected to utilise the internal dispute and grievance procedures available in the first instance. If an employee is dissatisfied with any procedural aspects of how the complaint has been handled, or is dissatisfied with the outcomes of an investigation, they have redress to the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Document No:  PC028.3.0  |  Approved:  10/01/2014  |  Review Due:  10/01/2015