Australia’s Fair Work Act and the Transformation of Workplace Disability Discrimination Law
40 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2012 Last revised: 31 Mar 2015
Date Written: February 6, 2012
Until recently, Australian disability discrimination law was similar to that of the United States and much of the rest of the world: it defined disability relatively narrowly, its penalties for noncompliance were relatively paltry, and its enforcement depended on lawsuits brought by aggrieved private citizens. In 2009, however, Australia adopted the Fair Work Act (FW Act). The FW Act defined disability much more broadly, increased substantially the penalties for noncompliance, and created a state institution to enforce disability rights. This article analyses the FW Act, compares it to the workplace disability law in the United States, and argues that the FW Act is a transformational development in the struggle to achieve workplace equality and an approach that should attract significant international interest.
Keywords: Disability, FW Act, FWA, Penalty Rights
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