Legal Research Folio 5 Essay Example

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Assessment of legal authorities

Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act, Disability discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) and Daghlian V Australian Postal Corporation [2003] FCA 759

    • Section 51 of Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act gives parliament the powers to make laws for the purposes of creating order in the society1. This also includes the laws that are meant to safeguard the rights of the people with disabilities in terms of employment. The constitution also gives powers to different arms of government for the purposes of ensuring that separation of powers is achieved. This also plays an essential role in eliminating overlapping roles and conflicts among the different arms of the government.

    • Disability discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) is aimed at ensuring that the discrimination of persons on the ground of disability is eliminated2. This includes the discrimination of the persons with disability in the field of employment or work. The Act is also for the purposes of ensuring that the persons with disabilities have the same rights to equality as the other members of the society. According to section 4 the Act defines what disability is and this includes the total or partial loss of a person’s bodily or mental functions. According to the Act, treating anyone less favorably based on their disability is discrimination which amounts to unfair treatment. According to section 15, it is unlawful for an employer or a person purporting to be acting on a behalf of an employer to discriminate the employees based on their disability. It is also unlawful for an employer to dismiss an employee based on their disability. The act is in accordance with the constitution which is for the purpose of protecting the rights of all Australians. The legislation is thus for the purposes of ensuring that the people with disability are not treated unfairly. This is because the people with disabilities can still perform their duties effectively if they are awarded equal opportunities as the other ordinary members of the society. Detriment also amounts to unfair treatment and section 15(2) (d) outlaws it. Any form of unfair treatment of persons with is thus outlaws by the legislation in Australia.

    • In the case of Daghlian V Australian Postal Corporation, the Federal court of Australia Declared that the respondent had engaged in indirect disability discrimination which contravenes section 15 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth). The company came up with a chair policy banning the use of stools for all the counter employees. Daghlian a former employee of the Australian Postal Corporation had filed for the case against the former employer for unlawful disability discrimination. Daghlian had developed a back pain in 1991 when lifting heavy parcels while working for the company. She later developed physical disability which hindered her from standing continuously for more than one hour. It is after she developed this problem that she was transferred to work at the counter carrying out light duties that did not require lifting of heavy goods and standing continuously for more than one hour. While working at the counter, she used to sit on an antiquated four legged stool. The stool at the time was available to the employees whenever they required it. She used to work at the counter along other six employees. However, with the introduction of chair policy, she was transferred to the head office and allocated a different task for a period of six days and was also set to be transferred to another post shop to carry out administrative duty. She was later awarded a sick leave and her contract was terminated in a controversial manner.

    • As a result of the unfair treatment and discrimination, Daghlian lost her income due to the termination of her contract. She was thus seeking reinstatement and compensation. The company on its part argued that the chair policy had been arrived at after carrying structural changes for the purposes of modernizing the post office. The court was also able to establish that Daghlian had worked for the company for 11 years and the use of the stool was only limited to a short period of time.

    • The court found that the company was engaged in indirect discrimination as it was aware of the condition of the employee who had physical disability. The court ordered that the respondent should pay for the applicant’s cost of the proceedings3. It also ordered that the proceedings be re-listed by the applicant for direction for the purposes of making an assessment for compensation. The court held that the Postal Corporation being a public office had also contravened section 4. It was also argued that the employee could mot pose any safety risk to herself or to other employees if she was to be allowed to continue sitting on the stool. The rebranding process should have considered the disability of the employee and redeploying the employee amounted to unfair treatment of the employee. This is considering that the employee had worked for the company for 11 years.

    • In making the judgment, the court also relied on the information that the applicant was suffering from physical disability. This was a fact that could not be disputed and the employer was aware of it as medical records were available. The court also arrived at the decision that indirect discrimination had occurred since the organization is supposed to provide an ample working condition for all the employees. The chair policy of the company was good for marketing and rebranding process but it was discriminatory to the employees with physical disabilities. It was also argued that the Act clearly defined disability which was applicable in the case. It is for this reason that the court referred to section 4.

    • The company was involved in unfair treatment of the employee due to her disability. It is unfair to redeploy an employee due to a chair policy considering that they are disabled. This has a potential of impacting negatively on the public image of the company with regards to the treatment of the people with disability. It is also important to note that the employee had worked for the company for eleven years and some of the operations of the company contributed to her disability. The indirect discrimination of the employee impacted negatively on the economic status of the employee due to the loss of income. The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) is therefore for the purposes of protecting the people with disability from unfair treatment and discrimination.

Works Cited

Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act.

Disability discrimination Act 1992 (Cth)

Daghlian V Australian Postal Corporation [2003] FCA 759.

Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act.

Disability discrimination Act 1992 (Cth)

Daghlian V Australian Postal Corporation [2003] FCA 759.