Making a complaint

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.

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Resolving your own complaint

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.

Time limit on complaints

The Anti-Discrimination Act says that if  the discrimination or harassment happened more than 12 months ago, we 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.

What we can 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 we 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.

What we do with your 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 us explaining the law. The respondent will then have a chance to provide a response.

If this doesn't solve the situation, we will consider the next step. Sometimes the we 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 us. 

> Read 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. 

​​> Read more about NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal​

Disability service - complaint handling 

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. 

>See more information on our disability service complaint handling

Read more about our services for people with a disability