Dealing with discrimination or harassment

Most instances of discrimination or harassment constitute unlawful behaviour, rather than a criminal offence. As such, they are generally dealt with by lower authorities than the courts. It is the person experiencing the discrimination or harassment who normally has to initiate the action to seek some form of resolution.

Incorporated associations can assist with this process by undertaking some proactive planning. For example, it is important for associations to have a policy (and grievance procedure) in place that deals with discrimination, harassment and victimisation. Training for employees and members about discrimination and harassment may also be necessary.

Complaints to external bodies

Commissioner for Equal Opportunity

Complaints of discrimination or harassment under the EOA can be made to the Equal Opportunity Commission who have the power to investigate and attempt to conciliate complaints of unlawful discrimination lodged under the EOA.  Complaints should generally be made within 12 months of the alleged act/s of discrimination or harassment. If conciliation is not successful, the matter may be referred to the SAT.

The SAT is independent of the Commission, and is a statutory body that makes and reviews a range of administrative decisions. 

Postal Address: PO Box 7370, Cloisters Square Perth WA 6850

Telephone: (08) 9216 3900
Country Callers: 1800 198 149
TTY: 9216 3936



Australian Human Rights Commission

Complaints of discrimination or harassment under Commonwealth anti-discrimination legislation can be made to the Australian Human Rights Commission within 6 months of the alleged act/s of discrimination or harassment.  The President of the Commission is responsible for inquiring into and attempting to conciliate the complaint.  If the complaint is not resolved at this level, the complainant may apply to the Federal Court of Australia or the Federal Magistrates' Court of Australia to have a hearing conducted into their complaint.

Postal Address: GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001

Telephone: (02) 9284 9600
TTY: 1800 620 241
Complaints Infoline: 1300 656 419