Human Rights
Human Rights

Suspended from work for shaving hair

A TASMANIAN woman who shaved her hair to support her cancer patient mother was suspended from work for breaching her employer's hair length policy, the state's Anti-Discrimination Commissioner has revealed.

The Equal Opportunities Tasmania - the office of Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Sarah Bolt - annual report was tabled in parliament last week.

According to the report, 347 allegations of discrimination were made last financial year, with disability the most complained about attribute, identified in 114 of the allegations.

Of those allegations regarding disability, 51 were made by one person but even when those allegations were excluded, disability remained the most complained about attribute. There were 26 allegations of gender discrimination.

One of the complaints received, which alleged gender discrimination in the workplace, was from a woman who was employed in the front office of a service provider.

"She sought to support her mother, who was diagnosed with cancer and moving through treatment, by shaving her hair," the report reads.

"Her employer suspended her from work for a breach of the code of conduct which included a policy about hair lengths for females and males."

The woman alleged men had shorter hair than hers but were not suspended or did not have their shifts reduced.

Equal Opportunities Tasmania said the business denied discrimination on the basis of gender.

"The complaint was resolved at conciliation with a statement of regret and compensation of $3000," the report reads.

The office also received a complaint from a woman who alleged her manager made offensive comments about her facial hair, which was caused by a medical condition.

"The manager allegedly expressed disgust and made comments about her removing the hair," the report reads.

"The employer responded to the allegations with a substantially different recollection of the conversation.

"The parties attended a conciliation conference where they agreed to an amount of compensation and the resignation of the complainant."

That complaint alleged gender and disability discrimination.

Of the 347 complaints in which discrimination was alleged or identified, six related to religious belief or affiliation and two related to religious activity.