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When The Courts Get It Wrong

Do courts get it wrong when coming out with their judgments? The obvious answer to the question, do courts get it wrong is yes! Why? Because courts are presided over by judges and judges are human. We all know that humans are fallible and they’re prone to making mistakes. The trouble is that there are times when those mistakes are so bad they’re laughable.

The Courts Get It Wrong With The Woolworth’s Case

Courts get it wrong with woolworths

The following is one of those cases. It all began when this man, Steven Willmott, decided he was being discriminated against whilst applying online for a petrol station console operator’s position. Apparently he found three of the questions offensive.

What makes the ruling of this case totally unbelievable is those questions were;

  1. His date of birth
  2. His gender
  3. Proof of his right to work in Australia

These questions were mandatory, as they usually are, and because he didn’t want to answer them he decided to take Woolworths to court and won! Can you believe that? How in hell can those questions be considered as being discriminatory? Lets look at them individually?

The question of age is very necessary because certain jobs require you to be over 18 to be eligible.

The question of gender? OK, a woman might find that discriminatory if she thought she might not get the job because of her gender  but that would be a pretty big stretch,

The third question, proving his right to work in Australia, as far as I’m concerned it totally legitimate. “The company argued that it had a legislative responsibility not to employ unlawful non-citizens, as defined in the Commonwealth Migration Act.” I would have thought that alone would have exonerated them as far as the third point was concerned. Besides, why wouldn’t you divulge that information?

The reason for came about after reading the following article. After some research I managed to find another article where Steven Willmott defended his actions. Apparently it had more to do with his fear of identity theft than anything else. This was because he was required to present his birth certificate, passport and driver’s licence as part of the application.

That kind of makes a bit more sense but even so I feel the judge got it wrong. What do you think?


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Peter Pelliccia

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Twitter:
    I’m assuming this is in your country? Over here it would have been tossed out because of the security measures enacted after 9/11/01. If the first facts you gave was it I’d say it was over the top. After the other information you gave, if he wasn’t going to travel for the job then it’s a bit much and I’m on his side. Even with our security no company could get away with it here for the job he was shooting for.
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted…Try Not To Take Things PersonallyMy Profile

      1. Twitter:
        No, because we do that over here. Actually, it’s on the application also, which usually has to be filled out before lots of jobs.
        Mitch Mitchell recently posted…Keeper SecurityMy Profile

  2. Twitter:
    Great post. Not sure why age is still relevant. I know a recruiter who gets asked all the time how old his candidates are. Unfortunately Australia is still a long way behind the rest of the world on this. Considering Australia’s super age is increasing, it’s time to make age irrelevant in the workforce. Unless it’s physical work.

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