Member Story: It pays to be a CPSU member, A big win on sex discrimination

Woman amid many men
I was denied my job on the grounds that I was a mother
It pays to be a CPSU member
A big win on sex discrimination

With the CPSU’s assistance, a member has won her sex discrimination case against a large APS department after it denied her a job on the grounds that she was a mother.

The member applied for a transfer to a different state. Her application was successful and she was all set to go to her new role when the Department sent her an email telling her that it was withdrawing the offer because she would be unable to do the job as well as care for her children.

But our member wasn’t having any of it and she lodged a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission that she was being discriminated against on the basis of her sex. The CPSU Member Service Centre backed her and advised her during the conciliation process.

The CPSU feels strongly that the decision should have been the member’s and not the Department's to decide if she was able to fulfil the role and look after her children at the same time. It is not acceptable for a department to make decisions on behalf of their staff.

Although the agency admitted no wrongdoing, in conciliation the parties agreed to a settlement which included a $7000 payment.

Member Services Centre Director Melissa Payne said: “Unfortunately discrimination is still present in the workforce and employees need to be aware of it. We were more than happy to support the member in her case, especially given this was such a clear cut case against the Department.”

“The union believes  that regardless of whether it  someone’s race, religion, colour, caring responsibilities, or sexual orientation there is no room for discrimination in today’s public service. If a member suspects that they have been discriminated against then they should speak to the MSC.” 

Not yet a member? Join online here or call 1300 137 636.