Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW

​Racist remarks at work

Conciliation - Race discrimination in employment

An Aboriginal man made a complaint of race discrimination after he was subjected to a number of racist remarks at work.

An Aboriginal man employed as a labourer in the construction industry made a complaint of race discrimination because his site supervisor made various negative comments about his race. He also alleged that his supervisor always gave him menial duties and limited his access to overtime. 

The comments included one instance while he was carrying a can of marking paint and his supervisor allegedly remarked: “You Aborigines, I don’t know, always sniffing paint and putting graffiti on everything.”  

On another occasion another worker had used the term “Corroboree” to describe the absence of another Aboriginal worker who had been attending the funeral of an Aboriginal elder.   

The complainant was not attending work at the time that the Board received his complaint, and said he did not want to return as he had lost faith in his employer. The complaint was resolved following a conciliation conference  when employer agreed to pay the complainant an eligible termination payment of $35,000 and he agreed to resign.

What does the law say about race discrimination?

It is generally against the law in NSW to treat you unfairly or harass you because of:
  • your race, colour, nationality, descent, ethnic or ethno-religious background

  • the race, colour, nationality, descent, ethnic or ethno-religious background of any of your relatives, friends, associates or work colleagues.

More information on Race discrimination

​​​​Back to September 2018 - Equal Time Newsletter​​​​​

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