Discrimination changes 'could see rise in claims'

THE PUBS and clubs industry has called on the Federal Government to retain the onus of proof in workplace discrimination cases.

In its submission on a new discrimination bill, Clubs Australia has asked for plans to reversal the onus of proof to be removed from the bill.

The new bill aims to replace several different discrimination acts with a single package of laws to help prevent discrimination around the country.

In its submission, the clubs industry has cited a rise in discrimination claims solely aimed at pressuring clubs to "offer a substantial monetary settlement".

The Federal Government's proposal, the industry argues, could see a further rise in such claims, as "it was cheaper to pay the applicant and settle", than take a case to court.

"Whilst we acknowledge that 'go away' money is often a feature of litigation generally, we believe that there may be a number of ways in which unmeritorious claims can be reduced," the submission reads.

The pubs industry suggested three other ways to reduce frivolous claims, including that a member of the Australian Human Rights Commission be required to provide an opinion on the likelihood of success.

It also called on the government to change the bill to ensure other third parties, such as unions and activist groups, cannot get involved in such cases.

The bill is currently being considered by a parliamentary committee which will recommend changes, if any, to the parliament when it resumes.

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