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4 JULY 2013 Anti-Discrimination Law. The information provided in this session is for information purposes only. It must not be relied on as legal advice.

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Presentation on theme: "4 JULY 2013 Anti-Discrimination Law. The information provided in this session is for information purposes only. It must not be relied on as legal advice."— Presentation transcript:

1 4 JULY 2013 Anti-Discrimination Law

2 The information provided in this session is for information purposes only. It must not be relied on as legal advice. You should seek legal advice about your own particular circumstances.

3 WHAT IS THE HUNTER COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRE? The Hunter Community Legal Centre (HCLC) is an independent, not for profit, community legal centre funded by the State and Federal Governments. HCLC provides free legal advice and assistance to disadvantaged people who live, work or study in the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Port Stephens, Great Lakes and Hunter Valley regions of New South Wales. You can call HCLC for free legal advice on 4040 9120 at the following times: Monday: 10.00 am – 12.00 noon Wednesday: 2.00 pm – 4.00 pm Friday: 10.00 am – 12 noon

4 AIMS FOR TODAY What is discrimination? What is vilification? What can I do if I am being discriminated against? Who can help me?


6 UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINATION Not all unfair treatment is against the law. Discrimination is only unlawful if it occurs on certain GROUNDS (like race or sex) and in certain AREAS (like at work) There are both State and Federal laws which prohibit unlawful discrimination unlawful.

7 WHAT ARE THE GROUNDS? Race Sex Disability Family /carers responsibilities Age Pregnancy / breastfeeding

8 WHAT ARE THE AREAS? Employment Education Accommodation Clubs & associations Goods & services Access to public places


10 DIRECT V INDIRECT DISCRIMINATION Indirect discrimination: An employer makes a rule that workers must not wear hats or any other headwear at work. This rule does not appear to be discriminatory on the face of it. However, it may have a disproportionate impact on some people (e.g. Sikh men who wear turbans or Muslim women who wear hijabs). Direct discrimination: A real estate refuses to rent a house to someone because of their ethnic background.

11 DISCRIMINATION BASED ON RACE Racial discrimination is when a person is treated less favourably than another person in a similar situation because of their race, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin or immigrant status.

12 DISCRIMINATION BASED ON SEX OR SEXUALITY Discrimination on the grounds of a persons sex or sexuality occurs when a person is treated less favourably than another person in a similar situation because of their sex or sexuality.

13 Discrimination on the grounds of family responsibilities occurs when a person is treated less favourably than another person in a similar situation because of their family responsibilities. This would include being discriminated against because you are responsible for caring for a dependent child or step-child or another immediate family member. DISCRIMINATION BASED ON FAMILY RESPONSIBILITIES E va works in retail. Ever since she started working at the shop, staff meetings were held once a week at lunchtime. Her manager sends everyone an email, saying that meetings will now be held at 8 o’clock in the morning. Eva can’t make these meetings because she has to drop her children at school. Her manager starts to give her less shifts and threatens to fire her if she does not attend the meetings.

14 EMPLOYMENT This area covers anything to do with work, such as: Applying for a job Getting a promotion Training opportunities Working conditions Losing your job Losing other work entitlements.

15 EDUCATION This area covers anything to do with Schools, TAFEs, Universities and other educational institutions: Applying for enrolment Treatment by your teachers Being suspended or expelled Disciplinary action Access to services

16 GOODS & SERVICES This area covers anything to do with accessing services or buying products from private companies or government departments. Centrelink Department of Housing Hospitals Banks Shops, Cinemas, Gyms Restaurants & Pubs

17 EXCEPTIONS & EXEMPTIONS The laws prohibiting discrimination also provide for certain exceptions or circumstances where discrimination is not unlawful. For example, if an employer can show that a job applicant with a disability was not able to fulfil the inherent requirements of the position, the employer will not be breaching the anti- discrimination laws by refusing to employ that person.

18 Exceptions in discrimination law can be complicated and change over time. It is important to get legal advice about whether discrimination law will cover your problem and whether any exceptions apply. For help or to make a complaint you can call: - the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board (02) 4926 4300 - the Australian Human Rights Commission 1300 656 419 - the Hunter Community Legal Centre on (02) 4040 9120

19 SUMMARY: WHAT IS DISCRIMINATION? Step One Have you been treated unfairly or harassed because of one of the GROUNDS we discussed earlier? Step Two Have you been treated unfairly or harassed in one of the AREAS we discussed? Step Three Are there any legal EXCEPTIONS or exemptions that might apply in your situation? Yes No This is unlawful discrimination


21 WHAT IS RACIAL VILIFICATION Under NSW law, racial vilification is when someone says or does something IN PUBLIC that : incites hatred towards or serious contempt for; or severely ridicules…. A person or group because they: belong to a particular race; or are gay, lesbian or transgender; or Are living with HIV/AIDS Racial vilification is unlawful.

22 WHAT IS RACIAL HATRED? Under Federal law, The Racial Hatred Act 1995, allows people to complain to the Australian Human Rights Commission about racially offensive or abusive behaviour about public acts which are: done, in whole or in part, because of the race, colour, or national or ethnic origin of a person or group AND reasonably likely in all the circumstances to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate that person or group.

23 RACIAL HATRED: EXAMPLES Examples may include racially offensive: material on the internet, including social networking sites, videos and blogs comments or images in newspapers or magazines speeches at a public rally comments made in the workplace, on public transport, at school or at a sporting event

24 A RECENT EXAMPLE Indigenous AFL player, Adam Goodes, points out a spectator who called him an “ape”. An apology letter written by the spectator.


26 TALK ABOUT THE PROBLEM Sometimes you can quickly and easily solve a problem by raising issues directly with the person you are having a problem with. You could speak to them, write a letter to them, talk to their boss etc.

27 WHAT DO YOU WANT? Before you speak to the person that is discriminating against you, it is a good idea to decide what you want. Then it’s easier to work out the best way to get it! I want an apology from the person who discriminated against me I want my workplace to deliver training on discrimination issues I want to make sure that what happened to me didn’t happen to anyone else I want an unfair policy to be changed I want my old job back I want to be compensated for money I have lost I want the discrimination to stop I want access to a service

28 WHO CAN I TALK TO ABOUT DISCRIMINATION? You could raise your concerns with: The person who has discriminated against you That person’s boss or manager The company that the person works for Or you could take your complaint to: An industry body or government department A trade union The Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW The Fair Work Ombudsman The Australian Human Rights Commission Or you could seek legal advice.

29 COMPLAINTS TO THE ANTI DISCRIMINATION BOARD You can complain to the Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW. You have to make this complaint IN WRITING… But you can write it IN ANY LANGUAGE. You need to explain what happened, why you think you have been discriminated against and how you would like the problem to be resolved What will the ADB do with my complaint? Inform the other party of your complaint Help you and the other party to find a solution to the problem The service is free, and you don’t need a lawyer. If the board can’t help you solve the problem, they will refer you on to the Administrative Decisions Tribunal, which is similar to a court.

30 ANTI-DISCRIMINATION BOARD ADVICE LINE The Anti-Discrimination Board also provides a free, confidential enquiry service. You can call them on (02) 9268 5544 or 1800 670 812 or email They can give you information about: Exceptions to discrimination laws Things you can do to address the situation Where to get help How to lodge a formal complaint

31 THE FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN If discrimination is happening at work, you can complain to the Fair Work Ombudsman. They may set up a mediation between you and the person who has discriminated against you.

32 THE AUSTRALIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION The Australian Human Rights commission offers a similar service to the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board. You can call them to talk about your problem and you can lodge a complaint with them. They will try to help you and the person who has discriminated against you to find a solution to your problem. Phone: 1300 656 419 Email: Website:

33 TIME LIMITS OrganisationTime Limit Australian Human Rights Commission No strict time limit Fair Work OmbudsmanAnything after 1 Jan 2010 NSW Anti-Discrimination Board 12 months Legal IssueTime Limit Unfair Dismissal21 Days Serious Racial Vilification6 months You have a limited amount of time to make a complaint after discrimination occurs. If this time has run out, organisations may not be able to help you with your complaint.

34 VICTIMISATION It is against the law for someone to punish you or treat you badly because you have complained about discrimination or harassment. This is called “victimisation”. Examples of victimisation that might happen in the workplace include being bullied or intimidated by co-workers; denied a promotion; moved to a position with less responsibility or less income; refused further contract work; If this happens to you, you can make a formal complaint.

35 SUMMARY: THINGS YOU CAN DO Try to solve the problem informally Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW Fair Work Ombudsman Human Rights Commission Make a formal complaint Is this unlawful discrimination? Talk to or write to the person discriminating against you Talk to their boss or their department Grounds AreasAre there any exceptions?

36 USEFUL CONTACTS OrganisationPhoneWebsite Hunter Community Legal Centre 40409120 1300 650 073 Fair Work Ombudsman 13 13 NSW Anti- Discrimination Board 9268 5544 1800 670 812 Australian Human Rights Commission 9284 9888 1800 620 241

37 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This presentation has drawn on resources provided in: The Discrimination Toolkit: Your Guide to Making a Discrimination Complaint (2 nd Edition, 2011) produced by the Elizabeth Evatt Community Legal Centre, the Kingsford Legal Centre and Legal Aid NSW Factsheets developed by the Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW Factsheets developed by the Australian Human Rights Commission Factsheets developed by the Fair Work Ombudsman A 2012 Anti-Discrimination Workshop delivered by the Rights Advocacy & Support Program & the Gippsland Community Legal Services

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