Conciliation conference

A conciliation conference is a free service that we provide, it is where you and the respondent meet to talk about the complaint and ways to resolve the issue, usually with the assistance of one of our officers. The complainant and respondent(s) can meet directly or through their representatives if the President allows this.​​

What are the aims of a conciliation conference?

The aims of a conciliation conference are:

  • to allow both sides to discuss the alleged discrimination and the issues around it
  • to attempt to resolve the complaint
  • to educate both sides about their rights and responsibilities under anti-discrimination law
  • to advise respondents on how to prevent discrimination in the future.

Who attends a conciliation conference?​

Complainants should attend the conference and can ask permission to bring along a support person such as a friend or work colleague. This should be discussed with the complaint handler.

The President of the Board can tell people that they must attend a conciliation conference. If complainants or respondents refuse to attend, the person who refuses to attend can be fined by the courts. It is in the interest of both sides to attend the conciliation conference in order to sort out the matter as quickly and cheaply as possible instead of having to go to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Can I bring a lawyer to the conciliation conference?​

You must get permission from the President of the Board if you want to have a lawyer present at a conciliation conference. So that you can be prepared, it is best to discuss this with your complaint handler when you are notified of the conciliation conference.

If you aren’t allowed to bring a lawyer, you should get the advice you need about settling the matter before you attend the conciliation conference so that you are ready to discuss a solution on the day of the conference.

You can negotiate through your lawyer outside the conference itself, but ultimately the President must decide if solicitors can attend the conference or not.

What is the complaint handler’s role at the conciliation conference?​

The complaint handler’s role is to:​

  • help everyone remain calm and polite; be fair to both sides – the complaint handler is not allowed to take sides
  • ensure that each side can put forward their point of view without being interrupted
  • make sure the conference deals with the main issues and not irrelevant matters
  • assist the complainant and respondent(s) to resolve the complaint in a way that is satisfactory for everyone.

Complaint handlers may meet separately with either side at any time during the conference. Either of you has the right to ask the complaint handler for a break at any time to help you gather your thoughts and consider your position.​

Contact us for more information.