What is discrimination?

In New South Wales, certain types of discrimination are against the law in specific areas of public life. Sexual harassment, vilification and victimisation are also against the law.

Discrimination is treating someone less favourably because of a characteristic they have, or they are assumed to have, that is protected by New South Wales law. These characteristics are:

Discrimination is against the law in certain public places. These are:

  • work
  • education
  • provision of goods and services
  • provision of accommodation 
  • registered clubs.

Carer’s responsibilities discrimination is only against the law at work.

Sexual harassment

It is against the law to sexually harass someone. Sexual harassment is any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature and includes:

  • sexual advances
  • requests for sexual favours
  • sexual gestures or behaviour.


Vilification is a public act that incites hatred or ridicule towards a person or group. Vilification is against the law for certain characteristics. These characteristics are:

  • race
  • homosexuality
  • transgender status
  • HIV/AIDS status.


If you are mistreated because you have made (or plan to make) a complaint of discrimination, or you have provided information or evidence about a complaint of discrimination, this is known as victimisation. Victimisation is against the law in New South Wales.

Related information

Find out about direct and indirect discrimination

Make a discrimination enquiry

Make a complaint of discrimination