Guidelines on workplace discrimination

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against people due to their disability.

The Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 defines disability as:

  • total or partial loss of a person’s bodily or mental functions
  • total or partial loss of a part of the body
  • the presence in the body of organisms causing disease or illness
  • the malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of a person’s body
  • a disorder or malfunction that results in a person learning differently from a person without the disorder or malfunction
  • a disorder, illness or disease that affects a person’s thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgement, or that results in disturbed behaviour

Your main obligations under the Act are:

  • not to discriminate directly (you cannot treat a person with disability less favourably than a person without disability in the same or similar circumstances)
  • not to discriminate indirectly by having a requirement or practice that is less favourable to a person with disability
  • to make, where necessary, reasonable adjustments to allow a person with disability to perform a job
  • to avoid and prevent harassment of all employees with disability.

If a person with disability can do the fundamental aspects of a job, they should be given a chance to do so.

You must show that all reasonable steps have been taken to ensure that discrimination and harassment do not occur in your workplace. 

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