What is discrimination?

Many people have fixed ideas about groups of people who are different from themselves. If we aren't careful, this can lead us to discriminate against people who belong to those groups.

Discrimination occurs when someone is treated unfairly because they belong to a particular group of people or have a particular characteristic.

In NSW many types of discrimination are against the law. The laws dealing with discrimination help give everyone an equal chance.​​

Download Discrimination and Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW Factsheet 138KB

Types of discrimination    

In NSW there are ten​ main types of discrimination that are against the law (in certain areas of public life). ​

Direct and indirect discrimination

There are two kinds of discrimination that are against the law, direct and indirect discrimination.

Direct discrimination

Is when someone is treated unfairly because of their age, sex, race, carer's responsibility, disability, homosexuality, marital status, HIV/AIDS or Transgender status compared to someone else who does not have those characteristic, in the same or similar circumstances. 

For example, if a real estate agent tells an Aboriginal person they have no properties for rent but tells a Caucasian person that they do, this may be direct race discrimination.

Indirect discrimination

Is when there is a requirement or rule that is the same for everyone but in effect disadvantages people from a particular group more than people from other groups - unless the requirement is reasonable in the circumstances. 

For example:

  • an employer says that they need a person over 180cm tall to do a certain job, which could indirectly discriminate against women and some ethnic groups (sex or race discrimination);

  • a qualifying body excludes everyone with diabetes from registration on safety grounds, which could indirectly discriminate against individuals whose diabetes is controlled and would not impede them from doing the job safely (disability discrimination).

Making a complaint to the Board

If you think you have been discriminated against, sexually harassed, victimised or vilified, contact us and talk about your concerns. 

Our Conciliation Conference​ (conflict resolution service) is FREE and confidential. We can send you information about the complaint process and if we can’t help you, we can refer you to someone who can.

To make a complaint:

Find out more about ​​Making a complaint

Related Content: