Making a complaint

In New South Wales, the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 makes certain types of discrimination against the law in specific areas of public life. Sexual harassment, vilification and victimisation are also against the law. We can only investigate complaints about the types of discrimination covered by the Act.

Download our complaint form

Resolving your own complaint

If possible, you should first try to talk to the person or organisation that you feel has discriminated against you. 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.

What we can do

We can investigate complaints about the types of discrimination covered by the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977. 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 we can't help you resolve the problem, you might be able to take your complaint to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

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, this is called a conciliation conference.  

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. 

Complaints can also be discontinued or declined. 

If you have a disability 

If you have a disability, our 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. 

Time limit on complaints

The Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 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 that happened more than 12 months ago, please explain the delay when you lodge your complaint.

Related information

Find out more about the complaints process

Read more about how to lodge a complaint

Find out how to use our service if you have a disability

Watch our Auslan video about the complaints process