Victorians volunteer for very diverse organisations, including:
- corporate bodies
- funded agencies with structured volunteer programs
- community groups
- other associations run entirely by volunteers.
Not all these organisations are aware they have responsibilities under Victorian equal opportunity laws when they provide opportunities for volunteers. Likewise, many volunteers do not know they are covered by these laws.
Under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 volunteers have the same protection against sexual harassment as paid employees. In some circumstances, volunteers also have rights, and organisations have responsibilities, under the Act’s discrimination provisions.
In early 2011, we conducted a survey of the experiences of volunteers and organisations working with volunteers. The Issues paper - Volunteers and the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 - May 2011 was released in response to issues raised with the Commission.
Based on responses to the issues paper and further stakeholder consultation, we developed resources to help organisations working with volunteers to meet their obligations under the Equal Opportunity Act.
We also have more information on volunteers and equal opportunity in the Workplace Rights and Responsibilities section of our website. <Workplace rights and responsibilities > Volunteers and equal opportunity>