Enquiry case summary
Race discrimination in the area of accommodation
A property owner wanted to exclude Asians and Africans from applying to be boarders in his home, as he claimed in his experience Asians and Africans cook with ingredients which smell offensive. The property owner was advised his proposed restrictions were arguably discriminatory on the ground of race.
The property owner asked if the Act applied to private homes. He was advised while the Commission encouraged people not to discriminate because of race, under section s47(3) of the Act, if the landlord resided in the home, and rented rooms to less than four people, the Act would not apply.
Sex discrimination in the area of employment
A labour hire business wanted to hire 11 women trainees in an industry where women made up fewer than 10% of the workforce. The business was worried about breaching sex discrimination laws.
The business was informed that under section 31 of the Equal Opportunity Act 1984, it is not unlawful to discriminate in favour of a particular sex if it is done as a measure intended to achieve equality. The measure must be genuine and proportionate to the aim of achieving equality.
Age discrimination in the area of goods, services and facilities
A 75-year-old man attempted to hire a car and was told "none were available" for driver’s over the age of 65. He felt this may be untrue, and it was his age that was at issue.
He was advised actuarial or statistical data and any other relevant factors can be used as a defence by an insurer to a complaint of age discrimination in the area of insurance services, however the insurer must prove the defence applies.
Impairment discrimination in the area of employment
A man applied for a mining job and successfully passed all medical and other pre-employment tests. When the employer discovered the applicant had made a workers' compensation claim eight years ago the application was discontinued.
The man was advised it is unlawful under the Act for an employer to discriminate against an applicant or employee on the ground of a past or present injury, whether temporary or not, provided he could fulfil the requirements of the job.
Religious conviction discrimination in the area of access to places and vehicles
Aboriginal Elders in a remote Aboriginal community wanted to ban a group of Christians who had been coming onto the community’s land to convert community members away from their traditional Aboriginal culture to Christianity.
The community was advised if the Christians were banned from entering the community, and subsequently lodged a complaint of religious conviction discrimination, the allegation would likely not be accepted, as the ground of religious conviction does not apply to the area of access to places.
Sexual harassment discrimination in the area of employment
A woman was worried because a chef behaved in a sexually inappropriate way towards female staff. When the chef cooked meat balls for staff lunches, he made lewd comments about his “tasty balls”. When the woman voiced her objection about his behaviour, the chef criticised her work, then sacked her.
The woman was advised although her job had been terminated, she could lodge a complaint of sexual harassment and victimisation against the chef and his employer.
Family status discrimination in the area of goods, services and facilities
A shop refused to serve a woman whose daughter had fraudulently used a credit card in the store.
The woman was advised that discrimination on the ground of being related to a particular person (family status) is unlawful under the Act, but only in the areas of employment and education, not the provision of goods and services.