The recent Australian Institute of Training and Development (AITD) 2003 National Awards for "Recognising excellence and innovation in Learning and Development" highlighted the importance of EEO training to business.
For Australian businesses, it means that managers and staff who transgress EEO principles risk complaints being lodged against them with the Tribunal. And the penalties can be severe. But how do businesses weigh up the costs of training against the risks involved with EEO?
For many, they need to minimise cost, ensure training consistency and also cater for staff that are geographically dispersed through national networks. The solution has been to look to the online environment.
At first EEO training was labour-intensive, expensive and time consuming, but technology has advanced to the point where innovative web-based training is readily available for all at the click of a mouse.
As further proof that EEO is alive and gaining strength, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) will be restructured and renamed under a proposed Bill recently introduced to Federal Parliament. The Australian Human Rights Commission Legislation Bill 2003, introduced on 27 March 2003, will amend legislation under which the HREOC performs its functions. Education, dissemination of information on human rights and assistance to business and the general community will be central functions of the new Commission.
So to the National AITD Awards: They have proved their value as a forum to display some of the best new training services available, and one of these focussed specifically on EEO training.
From CCH Australia came a new online training course titled Online Equal Employment Opportunity Training which was accepted as a finalist in the AITD Awards.
This ground-breaking EEO course has just been released and offers a broad but general introduction to equal opportunity and diversity. It outlines the rights and responsibilities of people affected by past or continuing disadvantage or discrimination in employment and features innovative self-paced learning techniques. All in leading edge web-based training delivery.
Head of CCH Learning, Steven Cronshaw, said "we¿re certainly proud that the AITD recognised the potential of this training service to quickly and efficiently deliver EEO training to businesses and employees at all levels. What was also encouraging was the reaction from first time users who had minimal background in EEO but were able to develop excellent compliance programs after using this training".
The online learning is based around self-paced techniques which include assessment tests at the end of each module. And the modules cover all the critical areas required for EEO compliance:
- The rights and responsibilities of people affected by past or continuing disadvantage or discrimination in employment.
- Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders
- Members of racial, ethnic and ethno-religious minority groups
- People with a disability
Businesses using the training have been shown to have:
- Improved professionalism and enhanced corporate image
- Proactive business risk management
- Better understanding of EEO across the workplace
- Strengthened market positions
- Strategic competitive advantage
According to Mr Cronshaw "we know that this training brings many benefits to the business and employees. The primary issue right now is for business to realize the major risk they face by not having suitable EEO training and compliance programs in place to minimize the risk of an EEO incident".
Equal employment opportunity legislation covers a wide range of conduct in the workplace. Employers falling foul of the EEO laws can suffer major penalties if they do or say anything that constitutes discriminating conduct. So the risk is very high for all parties and the costs can be horrific.
What many don¿t know is that every employee can be held liable for breaching the EEO laws. Added to this, each state has different EEO laws which means that national employers have an even more critical job understanding all of the grounds for discrimination.
So businesses must find their way through the EEO maze so that everyone understands the terms, concepts and processed involved.
And the key message is - the HREOC will ensure that EEO is subject to ongoing change, so employers must stay aware of it and keep their training regimes up-to-date. The new online EEO training media is ideal for this purpose.
CCH Australia is a leading provider of smart information tools for business professionals, serving legal, tax, business and education markets. CCH Australia is part of the Wolters Kluwer group of companies, one of the world¿s largest business publishing alliances. The Group employs more than 19,000 people with interests in 26 countries, representing annual sales of more than EUR 3 billion in 1999. For more information, please visit www.cch.com.au
For further information please contact:
T: 02 9857 1349