Justice Home > Making a complaint

Making a complaint

    Can the Anti-Discrimination Board help me?

    Discrimination means treating someone unfairly because they belong to a particular group of people or have a particular characteristic.

    Only certain types of discrimination are covered by the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977. We can only investigate complaints about these types of discrimination. More about the types of discrimination that are against the law.....

    Can I resolve the complaint myself?

    If possible, you should first try to talk to the person or organisation that treated you unfairly. Use whatever help you can to do this, such as your union or a group for people in your situation. Also, the organisation that treated you unfairly may have a grievance procedure that you can follow.

    What can the Anti-Discrimination Board do?

    We can investigate complaints about the types of discrimination covered by the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act. We can help you and the other side find a way of solving the problem.

    We can't take sides, decide whether discrimination happened or not, or give you legal advice. If the Board can't help you solve the problem, you might be able to take your complaint to the Equal Opportunity Division of the Administrative Decisions Tribunal, which can make a decision like a court.

    Is there a time limit?

    The Anti-Discrimination Act says that if  the discrimination or harassment happened more than 12 months ago, the Board can refuse to investigate your complaint. However this is not automatic. If your complaint is about events which happened more than 12 months ago, please explain the delay when you lodge your complaint.

    In the case of serious vilification, which may be referred to the Attorney General and prosecuted as a crime, you should lodge your complaint as soon as possible. This is because prosecution must commence within six months from the date when the vilification occurred.   More about serious vilification...

    How do I make a complaint?

    You have to complain in writing. You can write your complaint in any language, or in Braille.

    You can download and fill in the Board's complaint form, or you can write a letter to the President of the Anti-Discrimination Board with the information asked for on the form. What to put in your letter if you don't use the form....

    You can post, fax or deliver your complaint form or letter to the Board, or email it as an attachment.

    Post: PO Box A2122, Sydney South NSW 1235
    Fax: (02) 9268 5500
    Street address: Level 4, 175 Castlereagh Street, Sydney NSW 2000

    We also accept complaints on your behalf from organisations such as unions and other representative bodies. However, the complaint must make it clear that you agree with the complaint being made and you must be named in the complaint. In some circumstances you may also be required to show you consent to the complaint being made on your behalf.

    If you want to make a complaint on behalf of a child or a person with a disability, contact the Board for more information.

    What will the Anti-Discrimination Board do with my complaint?

    We will contact you by phone or letter within two weeks of getting your complaint. When we talk to you, we might ask for any other information we need, explain what we can and can't do, and discuss how we will handle your complaint.

    The person you are complaining about is called the respondent. We will send the respondent a copy of your complaint form and any paperwork you have provided, along with a covering letter from the Board explaining the law. The respondent will then have a chance to provide a response.

    If this doesn't solve the situation, the Board will consider the next step. Sometimes the Board will hold a meeting between you and the respondent to discuss whether the complaint can be resolved - called a conciliation conference.  Complaints can also be discontinued or declined. 

    Conciliation conferences are a free service provided by the Board. More about conciliation conferences.....

    Most complaints are resolved through conciliation.  If your complaint can't be resolved this way, you can ask for it to be sent to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a legal decision. More about the Tribunal....

    What if I have a disability?

    The complaint handling staff will try to provide any reasonable assistance you need to make a complaint and participate in the process of resolving your complaint. More about our services for people with a disability....