Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Psychology and Social Science
Apologies are known to play an important role in the resolution of discrimination and harassment complaints brought under equal opportunity legislation. Sometimes parties agree on an apology as a term on the basis of which a complaint is settled. Occasionally, where a complaint is not settled, a respondent will be ordered to apologize. The ability to order an apology is a distinctive feature of equal opportunity law in Australia. The aim of the researchers was to gather information on the role of apologies in the equal opportunity jurisdiction in Western Australia. Twenty-four complainants and respondents took part in semi-structured interviews. Qualitative analysis of the interview transcripts revealed that participants placed a positive value on apologies in the settlement process. They believed apologies serve a number of functions and have the potential to play a valuable role in the resolution of discrimination and harassment complaints. It appears that respondents may be more inclined to offer apologies if they have their legal position clarified.