Protecting employees & customers during coronavirus

Published 27 May 2020 | Updated 4 August 2020

Creating a safe work environment is a legal requirement for employers. Employees and other workers also need to take care of their own and others’ safety.

Wearing masks and temperature checks at work

Different states and territories may have different rules about wearing face masks or coverings at work, depending on whether an enforceable government direction applies. Make sure you check any enforceable government directions in your state or territory.

Visit the Safe Work Australia website for information about what employers can do under the model workplace health and safety laws, including if and when they can:

  • direct workers to wear, or not wear, a mask at work
  • conduct temperature checks.

Check what the rules are in your industry on the Safe Work Australia website external-icon.png.

Face coverings in Victoria

People in Victoria need to wear a face covering when they leave the house (except in limited circumstances).

This includes workplaces. A face covering includes cloth masks and single-use face masks.

For more information and advice, go to Managing coronavirus (COVID-19) risks: Face coverings in workplaces external-icon.png on the Work Safe Victoria website.

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Protection from discrimination for raising health and safety concerns

Under the Fair Work Act, discrimination happens in the workplace when an employer takes adverse action against an employee or future employee because of particular traits or attributes the employee has. These include the employee’s:

  • race
  • colour
  • sex
  • sexual orientation
  • age
  • physical or mental disability
  • marital status
  • family or carer's responsibilities
  • pregnancy
  • religion
  • political opinion
  • national extraction
  • social origin.

Adverse action includes doing, threatening or organising any of the following:

  • firing an employee
  • injuring the employee in their employment, eg. not giving an employee legal entitlements such as pay or leave
  • changing an employee's job to their disadvantage
  • treating an employee differently than others
  • not hiring someone
  • offering a potential employee different and unfair terms and conditions for the job compared to other employees.

Employers can’t discriminate against employees for raising health and safety concerns. Similarly, employees can’t be dismissed or injured in their employment because they have a responsibility under a workplace health and safety law, such as to quarantine or self-isolate.

More information:

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