Understanding Discrimination Law for Community Organisations

Note: This course can also be delivered as an abridged 2 hour course called Introduction to the Anti-Discrimination Act for Community Organisations.


This course aims to give participants a thorough understanding of their rights and responsibilities under the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 through an exploration of the key legal concepts, the  functions of the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland (ADCQ) and case law examples tailored for community organisations. The course focuses on helping participants recognise the behaviours that are unlawful under the Act, and understand what they can do to resolve issues affecting them directly.


This is an interactive, face-to-face session with a variety of visual and small group activities, many of which are based on case law or real life scenarios. It provides opportunities to discuss the concerns people have about harassment and discrimination in the workplace and other areas of their life, and allows time for questions.

Participants will learn how to:

  • Identify unlawful discrimination;
  • List and define the attributes protected under Queensland anti-discrimination legislation;
  • Understand how exemptions work and describe the most commonly used exemptions in  the Anti-Discrimination Act;
  • Identify sexual harassment and understand the 'reasonable person test';
  • Identify workplace harassment (bullying), and understand the relationship between  bullying , discrimination and sexual harassment;
  • Define victimisation and vilification;
  • Understand employee and employer responsibilities under anti-discrimination legislation;
  • Describe reasonable steps to prevent and manage discrimination and harassment at work.
  • Understand what options for resolution are available to people experiencing discrimination  or harassment in the workplace or other areas of their life.

How can staff training help reduce risk for an organisation?

Organisations may be held liable for the behaviour of their employees and volunteers under the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act 1991, unless they can show that they took 'reasonable steps' to prevent and manage the behaviour.

'Reasonable steps' can include:

  • Implementing effective policies and complaint procedures on discrimination and harassment;
  • Training all staff on the policies and legislation;
  • Taking all complaints seriously, and dealing with them fairly, promptly and appropriately; and
  • Taking any other steps necessary to assess and mitigate the risk of harassment and discrimination in  the workplace.

Recommended for:

This session is suitable for staff and  volunteers from community organisations wanting more detailed information about discrimination, sexual harassment, vilification and other types of unlawful behaviour, with a focus on sector specific scenarios. It is particularly useful for general staff or volunteers in organisations which provide services to vulnerable individuals and groups.