The Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 specifically refers to discrimination in the employment
agency area and states at section 23:
A person who carries on a business (whether or not for reward or profit) of introducing people seeking work to employers
must not discriminate -
(a) by failing to supply a service of the business, whether to a person seeking work or an employer seeking a worker; or
(b) in the terms on which a service is offered or supplied; or
(c) in the way in which a service is supplied; or
(d) by treating a person seeking work or an employer seeking a worker unfavourably in any way in connection with a service
The first step is to develop a clear idea of the duties of the position. Take into account the job description, which
outlines the responsibilities of the position, and to whom the person will be accountable.
Avoid stereotyped notions about which gender, race or age group would be best for the job. Your aim needs to be to
employ the best person, regardless of which group they might belong to.
When looking for a receptionist, avoid the assumption that
the best person for the job will be a young woman. The selection
criteria for the position might read as follows:
1. Demonstrated ability to deal with the public efficiently and pleasantly
2. Ability to use computer and other office equipment
3. Articulate phone manner
4. Well-groomed appearance
As can be seen, the description doesnt limit the job to any particular type of person, and you can ask
questions against these criteria at interview.
The issue of accents can come up from time to time. Taking the above situation as an example, keep in mind that the
requirement is for an 'articulate phone manner', not an 'Australian accent' or an 'English as a first
Applicants shouldnt be asked to send in a photo. This can have the same effect as asking about someones age,
race or sex.
Applicants also shouldnt be asked to list any impairments or disabilities they might have. The legislation
specifically makes it unlawful to ask for unnecessary information that may result in discrimination. Asking someone to list
his or her impairments could well fall into this category.
A better question to ask is whether the applicant has any impairment which would affect them doing the tasks of the
job. If this question is backed up by a clear position description, applicants will be able to answer appropriately.
Information about application forms
and interviews is available at the Recruitment page.
of Discrimination in Employment