Discrimination

Working out what to do when you’ve been discriminated against can be both confusing and stressful.

There are multiple laws that apply, and a number of places you could bring your claim. Finding the right path though depends on your particular circumstances and your desired outcome.

Have I been discriminated against?

If you have been treated less favourably in your workplace because of a ‘protected attribute’, then you may have been discriminated against.  The ‘protected attributes’ are:

  • Your race or skin colour
  • Your sex, gender identity or sexual orientation
  • Your age
  • Any disability you have (mental or physical)
  • Your marital status, or family or carer’s responsibilities
  • Whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Whether you are involved in industrial activity (union involvement)
  • Any spent convictions you may have
  • Your profession, trade, occupation or calling
  • Your religion or your political opinion
  • Your national extraction or social origin
  • Any association you have with a person with a protected attribute

FAQs

You may be able to commence proceedings in the Fair Work Commission, Federal Court, Federal Circuit Court, Australian Human Rights Commission, ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal or NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

But you have to choose only one place to bring your complaint, and there are costs, compensation and limitation period implications which can impact on your decision. It is important that you seek advice before locking yourself in.

If the discrimination has led to the termination of your employment you must start any claim in the Fair Work Commission within 21 days from termination.

If you want to make a complaint about behaviour through the Australian Human Rights Commission, you have 6 months from the date the behaviour occurred.  If your claim will go through the ACT Human Rights Commission, you have longer — up to 2 years.  And if you want to complain to the Fair Work Commission about discrimination that did not result in a termination, you have up to 6 years.

Because the choice of jurisdiction depends on quite a number of factors, it is important that you seek advice as quickly as possible — particularly if you have been terminated.

Not necessarily, but this is a really complex area of law that is often emotionally difficult because it involves things personal to you.  A lawyer will add value by:

  • bringing your claim in the right place, at the right time, to maximise your chances of success
  • capturing all the potential causes of action and remedies available to you
  • presenting the evidence in your case in the best possible light
  • taking away a lot of the time and stress involved in bringing the complaint, by managing the communications with the other party and the Court or Commission.

To get one of our specialist lawyers on your case now, click here