Anti-discrimination laws in force in Victoria are contained in seven separate pieces of legislation:
•Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic) (“EO Act”);
•Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001 (Vic) (“RRTA”);
•Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) (“RDA”);
•Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) (“SDA”);
•Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) (“DDA”);
•Age Discrimination Act 2004 (Cth) (“ADA”);
•Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth) (“AHRCA”).
Discrimination and victimisation that occurs in the workplace may also be covered by the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (“FW Act”). For further information regarding the FW Act, see Employment contracts, awards and agreements.
The right to equality and freedom from discrimination is also protected in the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic) (“Charter”) (discussed below).
The overlap between Commonwealth and Victorian laws can be complex. Generally, a complaint of discrimination cannot be made under both Commonwealth and state legislation at the same time.
People wishing to make a complaint of discrimination, sexual harassment, victimisation, or vilification may contact the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) for information.
Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission
Level 3, 204 Lygon Street, Carlton Vic 3053
Tel: 1300 891 848 TTY: 1300 289 621
The VEOHRC has also published a Victorian discrimination law resource that explains the EO Act in detail and considers relevant case law. Search “Victorian discrimination law” at www.humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au.
Complaints of racial, disability, age and sex discrimination under the Commonwealth Acts (above) should be made in writing. A complaint form can be downloaded from the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) website at www.humanrights.gov.au, and forwarded directly to AHRC at:
Australian Human Rights Commission
GPO Box 5218, Sydney NSW 2001
Tel: (02) 9284 9600; 1300 656 419
TTY: 1800 620 241
Free interpretation and translation services are available by contacting 13 14 50 and asking for the Australian Human Rights Commission.
The Fair Work Ombudsman can provide information about options to pursue matters of employment discrimination action under the FW Act. The contact details for the Fair Work Ombudsman are:
Fair Work Ombudsman
Level 6, 414 La Trobe Street, Melbourne Vic 3000
Tel: 13 13 94
Discrimination legislation generally enables people who have experienced certain forms of discrimination to access confidential dispute resolution and conciliation services – and, in some instances, a public hearing – to resolve their discrimination dispute.