The Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person because of their religious belief or religious activity.

Meaning of religious belief and religious activity

Religious belief means holding or not holding a religious belief.

Religious activity means engaging in, not engaging in or refusing to engage in lawful religious activity.

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Religious belief or activity discrimination examples

  • A private school refused to enrol a Sikh student because its uniform policy required hair to be cut neatly and the school hat has to be worn.The school will not allow the Sikh student to wear a turban and leave his hair uncut, which are requirements of his religion.
  • A Muslim worker received an email which was offensive and derogatory to the Islamic faith which had been forwarded to the whole unit by a co-worker. During office banter the co-worker also made offensive comments about Muslims and said Can't you take a joke? when the Muslim worker objected to the behaviour.
  • The employer of a young woman who was engaged as a sales assistant frequently made efforts to change the young woman's religious beliefs and personal habits (such as drinking coffee) and persistently requested her to attend their church. The Pastor of the church visited the workplace and frequently issued invitations to attend church and left pamphlets for her to read. The woman found these persistent invitations and mentions of her religion unwelcome. She resigned stating that she 'could not take it any more' and did not want to be harassed about her religion.
  • The owner of a house which was for rent refused to rent to a Sikh family saying it was too good for towel heads like them .

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Information and enquiry service

Individuals, employers and business operators can access the Commission's statewide telephone information and enquiry service.

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Making a complaint

To make a complaint about religious belief or activity, you can:

The complaint must be lodged with the Commission within 1 year of the discrimination happening.

The Commission's service is free.

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