Discrimination & Harassment

If you or a friend feel that you are being discriminated against or harassed, you can do something about it.

Discrimination or harassment of any kind is not okay, whether you're: 

  • at school
  • at work
  • undertaking training or further education
  • participating in sport
  • pursuing an interest through a club
  • Buying or selling something.

No matter what your age, federal and Victorian laws protect you from discrimination or harassment. 

If you make a complaint about discrimination or harassment, or help someone else make a complaint, it's also against the law for someone to treat you unfairly or pick on you because you've done so.

What is discrimination and harassment?

Being discriminated against is being treated unfairly because of things like your:

  • gender
  • religious beliefs
  • disability
  • race
  • age
  • sexuality
  • Marital status.

Harassment is when you're persistently picked on, hassled or bullied because of these things.

Discrimination protection

The case law on discrimination is rather complicated in this regard.  On the one hand, the court is willing to give the employer the prerogative to decide as they like whether to retain an employee or retire them at the age of superannuation, ‘in the absence of any statute, rule or agreement, it was a latitude or liberty’, as was the case in Abdul Majeed vs. Dandot Cement, where the employer was clearly going through a financial crisis and had negotiated contracts after the age of superannuation with some, but not all of the employees.  It was held that in the light of financial crises of the employer establishment, the settlement was rescinded and as a consequence beyond 60 years, no extension would be allowed for the petitioners.  It was justified that when the services of some of the employees were extended, the said agreement had ceased, and there was no agreement in the field, so the extension in the services of some employees could not be termed as DISCRIMINATION; rather it was the discretion of the employer to extend the services of some of the employees on attaining the age of superannuation.  In the circumstances, the aggrieved employees therefore could not rely upon and seek the benefits of the old Agreement between employees and the employer.

In another recent case, Government of Punjab vs. Abdul Sattar Hans, a case involving Arts. 3 & 25 of the Constitution, it was argued that Federal Government employees and Provincial Government employees should receive the same emoluments and perquisites if they were performing the same type of duties; that if two different pay scales were given to Federal Government employees and Provincial Government employees, it could amount to extracting LABOUR and exploitation under Art. 3 of the Constitution, and that although the Provincial Government would have to bear an extra financial burden, service structure and financial constraints could not stand in the way of the

Constitution.  However, the court struck down this claim, saying that different employers with different financial and other resources employed both sets of employees, and this did not amount to discrimination.  

In a 2013 case, the court took a more lenient view against an individual state employee who claimed that no impartial enquiry was held against him to prove an allegation of accepting illegal gratification, and allowed the appeal on the basis that the employee had been discriminated against, as another employee against whom a similar allegation of tampering with a meter was levelled, was removed from service, but subsequently reinstated with all benefits.  It was argued that the facts of said other employee’s case and the employee were identical (MEPCON vs. Arshad Aziz), and it was discrimination to give the appellant a lesser legal right of appeal.

Arts. 25 & 27 of the Constitution are an oft-pleaded provision of the constitution in discrimination cases and is often used when pay scales are discriminatory or unfair (see 2013 PLC 262).  Equal pay is governed by s15 of the West Pakistan Minimum Wage Rules, 1962, which requires employers to give regard to the principle of equal remuneration for work of equal value between men and women when it comes to fixing wages.  However, there is no specific law in the country to deal with equal remuneration.  The Pakistan Regulations on Fair Treatment involve the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973 (as amended in 2012), the West Pakistan Minimum Wage Rules, 1962, and the Protection Against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2010.



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