Under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic), organisations may be required to make reasonable adjustments for staff and clients with a disability.
These provisions under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic) may apply to volunteers in certain circumstances – this will depend on the type of organisation with which they volunteer and the nature of the volunteering opportunity. In any event, organisations with paid staff and those providing services to clients need to be aware of their obligations to provide reasonable adjustments to enable people with a disability to gain paid employment and to access services.
Some adjustments that organisations providing services should make to meet their obligations under the Act will benefit volunteers, any paid staff and clients as well – for example, making sure their premises are accessible to people with a physical disability. An adjustment would not be considered reasonable if the organisation could not afford it, or if people with a disability could not participate even after the adjustments were made.
It’s good practice to ask a volunteer with a disability what changes could be made to the role to accommodate their disability. These don’t need to be expensive – for example, they may need to take more frequent breaks, shorter shifts or may not be able to perform heavy lifting.
Regardless of whether an organisation may be legally required to make a particular adjustment for a volunteer, it is good practice for organisations to be as accommodating as is reasonably practical of the diversity of people wanting to volunteer with them.
If you need more information, please contact the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.
Enquiry Line: 1300 292 153
Telephone: 1300 891 848
Fax: 1300 891 858
TTY: 1300 289 621