Anti-Discrimination NSW can only handle complaints that are covered by NSW anti-discrimination law.
Types of discrimination, harassment and vilification that are covered
You can also contact our
enquiry service for information about anti-discrimination law and advice about the complaint process. Even if your problem is not covered we may be able to tell you who else could help you or suggest other ways to deal with the problem.
If possible, you should first try to talk to the person or organisation that treated you unfairly. Be as calm as you can. Tell them that you think this unfair treatment is against the law. If you want to, take someone with you.
Use whatever help you can. For example, if it is a work problem you could ask your union for help, or ask a supervisor or manager to speak to the person or people who treated you unfairly. The organisation may also have a grievance procedure that you can follow.
If it's not possible to sort out the problem yourself, or you try to and it doesn't work, the next step is to make a formal complaint to us.
Nothing. Our complaint handling service is free. However, if you employ your own lawyer, you will need to pay for their fees.
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 provide an explanation for the delay in lodging your complaint with us.
You can only lodge a complaint of vilification if you have the characteristic or come from the group that you think has been vilified. For example, you can only lodge a homosexual vilification complaint if you are gay or lesbian.
The person who complains to us is called the complainant.
Yes. The person or people you are complaining about – called the respondent(s) – will have to know about your complaint and who you are. We can only help to resolve complaints if we get both sides of the story, and this means all the people involved must know what has been said about them.
We keep your complaint confidential to the parties to the complaint, that is you and the respondent(s). This applies from the time you phone us right through the conciliation process. It is best that you don’t talk about your complaint to anyone who does not need to know. We also ask the person or organisation you have complained about not to talk to anyone who does not need to know either. This gives both sides a better chance of working things out.
If you are punished, harassed or treated unfairly because you complained to us, this is called victimisation.
The law says that you must not be victimised if you have made a complaint of discrimination, harassment or vilification covered under the Anti-Discrimination Act, or you intend to make one or have helped someone else make one. This includes people who have agreed to be witnesses for your complaint.
This means that you must not be punished or receive further unfair treatment for making a complaint, or because someone thinks you may complain, or because you have helped someone else with a complaint. For example, you make a complaint of sexual harassment to your employer and then your work is suddenly scrutinised or you are dismissed.
If anyone tries to make trouble for you because you made a complaint or because they think you might make one, you should talk immediately to one or our officers.