What is discrimination?

Not all treatment that is unfair is against the law.

Discrimination is when you are treated less favourably than others because of your:
  • gender
  • race
  • age
  • disability (which includes medical illness)
  • marital status
  • gender identity
  • carer’s responsibilities, or
  • sexuality.
These are called ‘grounds’ of discrimination.

Discrimination can be obvious — for example, when a person is treated unfairly because of one of these grounds. This is called direct discrimination.

Discrimination can also be less obvious — for example, when a rule appears to apply equally to everyone but is unfair to a particular group of people. This is known as indirect discrimination.

For example — there used to be a rule about how tall you had to be to be a police officer. This rule applied to everyone, but the effect of it was to exclude some women and some people from different ethnic backgrounds from that role.

It is against the law to discriminate against someone:
  • in the workplace
  • when providing goods and services — for example, like public transport and many education or housing services.

What can my client do if they have been discriminated against?

If you are discriminated against, you should first try to talk to the person or organisation that treated you unfairly. They may have a complaint process you can follow.

If you can’t resolve the issue with the person or organisation, you can complain to the:
In NSW there are state and commonwealth laws that cover discrimination. You should get legal advice to work out if you should make a complaint and which law to use. 

ite content is current as at November 2018