In addition to discrimination, sexual harassment, victimisation and vilification, the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 also makes the following conduct unlawful.
- requesting or encouraging a contravention of the Act;
- requesting unnecessary information;
- discriminatory advertising.
- Information and enquiry service
- Making a complaint
- Case studies on requests for unnecessary information
Requesting or encouraging a contravention of the Act
It is unlawful for a person to request or encourage another person to contravene the Act.
If the person who was asked or encouraged to contravene the Act then did what they were asked or encouraged to do, both are liable. A complaint could be made against either person or both of them.
- The owner of a rental property instructs the property manager not to rent it to Aboriginal people. A complaint could be made against the owner for giving that instruction.
If the property manager discriminates by refusing to rent the property to an Aboriginal person, a complaint of discrimination could be made against both the owner and the manager, or either of them.
Requesting unnecessary information
Asking for unnecessary information which can be used to discriminate against a person is unlawful, unless it is genuinely required for a non-discriminatory purpose.
This applies whether the request is made verbally or in writing.
- An employer who routinely asks applicants for all jobs whether they have any impairments could have a complaint made against them.
Requesting unnecessary information exemptions
It is not unlawful to request information that is reasonably required for a purpose that does not involve discrimination.
- An employer may ask applicants for a job involving heavy lifting whether they have any physical condition that indicates they should not do that work.
- In Queensland, private employment agents are required to keep a register of people looking for work, and the register is to include the name, age and gender of those people.
Requests to supply information to comply with a court or tribunal order are exempted from this provision, as are requests for information that are necessary to comply with, or are specifically authorised by an existing provision of another act.
- A court orders an organisation to provide the names, ages and sex of all its workers in connection with a matter which is before it.
It is against the law to publish or display an advertisement that shows an intention to contravene the Anti-Discrimination Act. This includes advertisements on websites, television, radio, online job sites, newspapers, billboards, catalogues and leaflets.
- a job advertisement for an attractive young woman to fill a receptionist position;
- an advertisement for holiday accommodation to rent which specifies 'no children'.
However employers can advertise for a worker under 21 years of age, and advertise that youth wages apply to the position.
Job advertisement exemptions
An employer may advertise a position for a restricted pool of applicants if the reason for doing so is:
- an equal opportunity measure (such as advertising for a cadetship in the construction industry for female engineering students);
- a welfare measure (such as a mining company advertising an employment program which is intended to increase employment and to improve employment conditions for local Aboriginal persons);
- because of a genuine occupational requirement (such as considering only women applicants for positions involving body searches of women).
When the pool of candidates for a position is to be restricted because of an equal opportunity or welfare measure, it is advisable to include a statement in the advertisement such as:
- Company X considers this advertisement to be an equal opportunity measure under section 105 of the Anti-Discrimination Act; or
- Company X considers this advertisement to be a welfare measure under section 104 of the Anti-Discrimination Act; or
- Company X considers being a female is a genuine occupational requirement for the position as envisaged under section 25 of the Anti-Discrimination Act.
Such a statement indicates that should a complaint arise in relation to advertising of the position, the company would raise the exemption in response.
Information and enquiry service
Individuals, employers and business operators can access the Commission's statewide telephone information and enquiry service.
Making a complaint
Make a complaint to the Commission on the Complaint Form about any of the contraventions discussed on this page.
The complaint must be lodged with the Commission within 1 year of the contravention happening.
The Commission's service is free.