Race discrimination

What is race discrimination?

Race discrimination is against the law and is when you have been treated unfairly because of your race, or because you are the relative, friend or colleague of someone of a particular race.

The definition of race includes colour, nationality, descent, ethnic and/or ethno-religious background.

Indirect discrimination is also against the law. This is when there is a rule or requirement that is the same for everyone but unfairly affects people of a particular race. 

In what areas is race discrimination against the law?

Race discrimination is against the law in certain public places, including:

  • employment, such as when you apply for a job or while you are at work
  • employment agencies, such as when you use recruitment companies
  • when you access goods and services, for example when you are shopping, when you do your banking or access medical services
  • state education, such as when you apply for study and during your studies
  • when you rent accommodation
  • industrial organisations, such as unions
  • qualifying bodies
  • at registered clubs (clubs that sell alcohol or have gambling machines), such as when you try to enter or join a club.

What can I do if I experience race discrimination?

If you are unsure if you have experienced discrimination or if you need more information, you can contact our enquiry service.

If you feel you have been discriminated against, you can try speaking to the person or organisation directly to express how you feel if you are comfortable to do so. If this isn’t appropriate, you can contact us to make a complaint of discrimination.

If you are treated unfairly because you have made a complaint of discrimination or because you have provided evidence or information about a complaint, this is known as victimisation and is also against the law.

Vilification

Racial vilification is against the law and is a public act that could incite hatred, serious contempt or ridicule towards people of a particular race. You can contact us to make a complaint if you experience racial vilification.

Public acts include:

  • communications that can be seen or heard by the public (this includes print, radio, video or online)
  • signs, flags or clothing  that could be seen by the public
  • distributing and sharing information to the public.

A public act that threatens or incites violence towards a group of people on the basis of race, religious belief or affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex status or HIV/AIDS status is a criminal offence that should be referred to the police.

Do you have a question about discrimination? 

Contact our enquiry service.