The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) has caught labour hire company Corestaff WA and its client Gumala Enterprises committing an ultimate recruitment no-no.
ABCC has launched Federal Court proceedings against the companies, alleging that they discriminated against a worker because of his age.
It alleges that Corestaff WA refused to hire a qualified 70-year-old grader operator when Gumala Enterprises said he wasn’t suitable for the role because he was too old.
In ABCC’s media release, it says the following email exchange took place.
Gumala Enterprises HR Adviser: “I have some feedback on the grader ops … we had his details already, he applied directly with us. He has all the tickets we are looking for however he [sic] age is a concern – 70 years old. The other guy is a no.”
Corestaff WA Area Manager: “Wow didn’t know that however I would have found out eventually.. [sic] yes will certainly keep looking.”
The area manager later told the worker “Sorry…, no joy with the role at Gumala due to your age mate”.
Age discrimination is a contravention of the adverse action provisions of the Fair Work Act.
Both companies could face maximum fines of $63,000 per contravention, while the persons involved could face individual fines of up to $12,600 per contravention.
Age discrimination is also unlawful under the federal Age Discrimination Act and all state and territory health and safety and anti-discrimination legislation.
Under the various legislation, any company or individual found to unlawfully discriminate against a worker because of their age can face hefty penalties.
These are detailed in chapter D5 Discrimination in the Health & Safety Handbook.