The Office of the Commissioner for Equal Opportunity’s (OCEO’s) 2020-21 Annual Report, tabled in State Parliament, reveals there were 46 complaints involving disability discrimination accepted in 20-21.

This represents a quarter of all accepted complaints to the office.

“Disability discrimination continued to be the number one ground for complaint in 20-21, continuing an unwelcome trend that we have seen over the past 12 years,” Commissioner Jodeen Carney said.

“Most of these complaints related to instances where people living with disability were trying to access goods and services, or in the area of employment.

“The latest figures demonstrate that more needs to be done to change attitudes towards people living with disability, remove barriers and help businesses and employers foster more inclusive workplaces.

“This should be a priority for governments now and in the future. It will be a focus of the activities of my office.”

The OCEO’s 2020-21 Annual Report highlighted actions undertaken over the past year, including:

  • reviews into sexual and other harassment and discrimination, in both the parliamentary workplace and the legal profession
  • the Workplace Equality and Respect project, supporting White Ribbon accreditation across each of the 24 participating South Australian government agencies
  • information, education, advice and conciliation services, raising awareness of equal opportunity
  • a new model of assessing complaints made to the office, which reduced complaint handling time
  • a new website with improved accessibility
  • developing a practice guideline for South Australian employers to support the employment of people with disability.

Ms Carney said the parliamentary and legal profession reviews were sobering reminders that sexual and other harassment, discrimination and bullying occur in many workplaces, despite the existence of equal opportunity laws since 1984.

The OCEO received 230 complaints in 2020-21, of which 111 were accepted by the office. There were 22 complaints involving sexual harassment accepted (12 per cent of all accepted complaints).