Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW

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​​Perceived disability may have affected interview

​Conciliation - disability discrimination in employment

Published: 6 September 2016

The complainant was interviewed for a position at a health service where she had worked previously as a casual. When she was not successful for the position, she rang the convenor to get feedback. She said she was told that she had seemed very nervous during the interview and another staff member had told the convenor that the complainant had a medical condition that caused her to shake.

The complainant was concerned that this perceived disability had influenced the outcome of the interview and might also influence future applications to the same employer. She complained to the employer, but was not satisfied that the response fully acknowledged or addressed her concerns. She then made a complaint of disability discrimination with the Board. Disability discrimination includes a disability someone thinks you have, even if you don’t have it.

The employer said that the conversation about the perceived disability had occurred some months earlier and had not influenced the interview, and the convenor’s comments had been intended as constructive feedback. They said that they had told the convenor that what she said was inappropriate, and provided an apology to the complainant.

The complaint was resolved when the employer agreed at conciliation to add the complainant’s name to their pool for future casual employment.​

What does the law say about disability discrimination?​

  • It is generally against the law in NSW to treat you unfairly or harass you because you have a disability. This includes​ a disability that someone thinks you have now, whether or not you actually have it​.
  • If you are the best person for the job and you can do all the essential parts of the job, then you should get the job, irrespective of your disability or perceived disability.
  • If you are the best person for a job, the employer must also provide any special facilities or services you need to do it - unless it would cause them 'unjustifiable hardship' to do so.​

More information on disability discrimination​

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