What does the law say?

Discrimination is against the law

The Equal Opportunity Act 2010 says you cannot refuse to provide your services or access to premises to somebody with an attribute protected by the Act because of that attribute or provide it in a way that disadvantages them. These attributes include age, sex, race, and disability.

If a person is discriminated against in service delivery or while accessing your premises they may make a complaint to the Commission.

You need to make reasonable adjustments for people with disability

In addition to the general protection against discrimination the law also says that service providers must make reasonable adjustments so that a person with disability can access services. This is a stand-alone provision in the Equal Opportunity Act, meaning a person doesn’t have to prove they have been discriminated against – they only need to show that reasonable adjustments were not made for them.

More than one person can be liable for discrimination

For example, if a staff member discriminates against a person with a disability the manager or business owner may also be liable if they can’t show that they took reasonable precautions to prevent discrimination from occurring.

You have a positive duty to prevent discrimination from occurring

The Equal Opportunity Act also requires that businesses take reasonable and proportionate steps to improve their policies, practices and procedures to prevent discrimination against customers. This is called the positive duty.

You must allow Assistance Dogs to enter your premises

It is against the law to deny a person with disability access to your premises or services because they have an assistance dog. An assistance dog is a dog that is trained to assist a person with disability to alleviate the effects of their disability.

It is also against the law to treat a person with disability unfavourably because they have an assistance dog. For example, by making a person sit outside with their assistance dog at a restaurant.

You also have obligations under federal law

It is also against the law to discriminate against someone with a disability under the Disability Discrimination Act (1992) and people with a disability who experience discrimination can also make a complaint of discrimination to the Australian Human Rights Commission.

You also have legal obligations under the Disability (Access to Premises-Buildings) Standards 2010 (known as the Premises Standards).

Find out more at www.humanrights.gov.au