‘No bogans’ job ad from Perth small business given all-clear

PerthNow, February 12, 2017

JOBSEEKERS wanted — but bogans need not apply.

A Perth small business has ignited debate about workplace discrimination by advertising an administration role but stipulating “no bogans need apply”.

“We are seeking an international student for admin and driving role for family business,” read the advertisement, which was live this week on the jobs section of buy and sell website Gumtree.

“12-15 hours per week and must be a computer whizz with full driver’s licence. Must have good references. Drug free, also child and pet friendly. No bogans or rough people need apply,” continued the advertisement, posted by “Caz” from Morley.

Lynn and Brown Lawyers associate Kate Bretherton, who practises in employment law, said workplace anti-discrimination laws extended to job advertisements and, while the bogan reference was unlikely to be a breach of the laws, she said it was “not advisable”.

“A statement that ‘bogans need not apply’ may not be contrary to anti-discrimination law, but those involved in the hiring of candidates should explain the genuine requirements of the position,” Ms Bretherton said.

“The bogan description is often associated with unsophisticated people of low social status, and the use of the word in an advertisement for a job may imply a focus or interest in the socio-economic background of the candidate, which, while not unlawful, should be avoided.”

The Morley business owner who posted the Gumtree ad did not reply to emails this week, but WA Equal Opportunity Commission acting commissioner John Byrne said while the bogan reference did not breach the Equal Opportunity Act, stipulating that an international student was wanted could be a breach.

“Presumably, this employer would reject an application from a student who was not an international student, but if the employer’s decision was based on the race of the applicant, including the person’s ethnic or national origin, it might be unlawful,” Mr Byrne said.

The commission received 290 workplace discrimination complaints last financial year, which made up 66 per cent of all complaints, slightly up on the 59 per cent of complaints in 2014-15 and 63 per cent of complaints in 2013-14.