This one’s a personal favorite because:
– I’ve been on the receiving end, during a period of time where my employer embraced the Federal Government’s ‘Affirmative Action” program in the 1980’s
– I’ve seen employees discriminated against , and
– I’ve had cause to try to deliberately employ someone in a situation that could have been mistaken for discrimination.
That last one is interesting and also tricky.
For example, if you have a retail business in a suburb with a large Chinese speaking population, then employing someone with Chinese language skills over someone who can’t speak those languages, but may be better for the role in other ways, MAY be seen as discrimination.
You would expect also, that a male candidate, complaining that they were discriminated against by a women-only gym would not get very far – and rightly so.
Usually, good intentions and common sense will be sufficient, but there’s no ‘one size fits all’ answer. Employers should seek advice before they advertise for a role if they want a person from a particular ethic background, gender, sexual orientation or age group, etc.
We will be interested to read your comments, especially from legal or HR industry connections.