EO for You

Grounds of discrimination

The Equal Opportunity Act 1984 sets out the grounds, or types of discrimination which are unlawful and the places where they apply.

Grounds or types of discrimination:

  • Age –  being regarded as too young or too old
  • Breastfeeding – being asked not to feed, or to use other facilities to breast or bottle feed
  • Family responsibility –  having a caring role 
  • Family status –  being a relative of a particular person or having the status of being a particular relative
  • Fines enforcement registrar's website – publication of relevant details
  • Gender history –  having reassigned gender as certified under the Gender Reassignment Act 2000 
  • Impairment –  having a physical, intellectual or mental disability that is current, past or imputed
  • Marital status –  being single, married, a de facto partner, separated, divorced or widowed 
  • Political conviction –  including a lack of conviction 
  • Pregnancy–  being pregnant, having a characteristic associated with pregnancy or generally imputed to persons who are pregnant. 
  • Race –  including colour, ethnicity or national origin or descent
  • Racial harassment–  including offensive or insulting comments or other behaviour about a person’s  colour, ethnic background or origin 
  • Religious conviction –  including a lack of conviction 
  • Sex –  being a man or woman 
  • Sexual harassment –  including unwelcome requests for sexual favours, touching and comments about a person’s private relationships 
  • Sexual orientation –  including heterosexuality, homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality or assumed sexual orientation. 
  • Spent conviction – the Commission can investigate discrimination on the ground of spent convictions under the Spent Convictions Act 1988.

*The Act may also apply to a relative or a person who has a close relationship to a person affected by these grounds.

  • Victimisation -  includes threatening, harassing or punishing a person in any way because they have objected about the discriminatory manner in which they have been treated. It also applies to anyone who has made a complaint, or intends making a complaint, under the Act.

*Victimisation also applies to anyone giving evidence about a complaint.

Areas or places

The Equal Opportunity Act 1984 applies only in certain areas of public life.  These include:

  • Employment
  • Accommodation
  • Education
  • Provision of goods, services and facilities
  • Access to places and vehicles
  • Disposal of land
  • Clubs
  • Application forms
  • Advertisers
  • Superannuation and insurance
  • Sport
For more information on each of the grounds and what areas of public life they apply to, click here.