Equal opportunity is about treating everyone fairly. Laws in Australia make it illegal to discriminate or harass anybody.

Australian law says that universities, colleges and schools in Australia must provide a safe and fair learning and working environment.

The law also says that accommodation providers (such as hotels, hostels, caravan parks and camping sites) must not discriminate in providing accommodation.

Discrimination is illegal

Under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010, it is against the law to discriminate against a person on the basis of:

  • employment activity
  • family or carer’s responsibilities
  • gender identity
  • impairment or disability, including behaviour that is a symptom or manifestation of a disability
  • marital status (being married or not married)
  • race (including colour, nationality, ethnicity and ethnic origin)
  • physical features
  • political belief or activity
  • pregnancy or potential pregnancy
  • religious belief or activity
  • sex (being a female or male or intersex)
  • age (for example being considered too old or too young)
  • sexual orientation or preference.

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is any unwanted or unwelcome sexual behaviour which makes a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated. It is illegal to sexually harass anyone.

Read more on the Sexual harassment page on the Australian Human Rights Commission website.

What to do if you feel unsafe

If you experience or see any type of harassment or discrimination, there are people who can help you.

Your university, college or school has policies that protect students and staff from discrimination and harassment. Talk to student advisers or staff.

Complaining to the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) has a free enquiry line and a dispute resolution service.

You can make complaints to the Human Rights Commission in any language. They can arrange a free interpreter for you if you ask.

Find out more about how to contact the VEOHRC on the Contact us page on the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission website.

Tip

The Everyday Law website has a summary of resources on their Discrimination page.