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Discrimination Toolkit

Discrimination Toolkit

Discrimination Toolkit

About this Toolkit

The Discrimination Toolkit is for people who believe they have been discriminated against and want to do something about it. It will also be a useful resource for community workers, advocates and lawyers who want to help clients who are experiencing discrimination.

The Toolkit has five sections:

  1. Discrimination basics will help you work out if you’ve been unlawfully discriminated against and whether you might have grounds for a discrimination complaint.
  2. What you can do about discrimination looks at the legal and non-legal options for dealing with discrimination and gives you some guidance about how to decide what is best for you. This section also takes you through the steps involved in making and running a discrimination complaint.
  3. Courts and tribunals describes what happens if your discrimination case ends up in a court or tribunal. Although most discrimination cases get sorted out before this stage, it’s important to know what is involved if your case does get that far. This section also gives you some basic information on court procedures and rules.
  4. Getting help looks at how you can get legal representation or advice. It has a list of contacts for legal and non-legal help, and places where you can get more information about discrimination if you need it.
  5. Glossary gives definitions of some of the legal words you will come across if you are making a discrimination complaint.

Dealing with the legal system can be stressful, and sometimes the results aren’t exactly what you hoped for. But using discrimination law and standing up for your rights can be empowering and worthwhile. There have been a lot of positive changes in the way people are treated because of our discrimination laws. Freedom from discrimination is a basic human right. We hope this Toolkit will help you navigate the discrimination law system so you can stand up for that right.

Disclaimer

This publication is a general guide to the law. You should not rely on it as legal advice, and we recommend that you talk to a lawyer about your situation. The information is correct at the time of printing. However, it may change. For more information, contact LawAccess NSW on 1300 888 529.

Copyright

© Central Tablelands and Blue Mountains Community Legal Centre, Kingsford Legal Centre and the Legal Aid Commission of NSW, 4th edition 2021.

You may copy, distribute, display, download and otherwise freely deal with this work for any purpose, provided that you attribute Central Tablelands and Blue Mountains Community Legal Centre, Kingsford Legal Centre and Legal Aid NSW as the owners. However, you must obtain permission if you wish to (1) charge others for access to the work (2) include the work in advertising or a product for sale or (3) modify the work.

Foreword

Each and every person in Australia has a right to be treated equally and not be discriminated against.

Discrimination can be intentional or unintentional, but for the person who has been discriminated against the effect can be profound. Attitudes underpinning discrimination can also lead to harassment, vilification, public acts that threaten or incite violence, and victimisation.

The legal system exists to ensure people are protected from discrimination and similar behaviour, but also that people who undertake discrimination are held to account. To speak up can help yourself and others.

It is not easy. I am a quadriplegic from a spinal cord injury playing rugby 26 years ago. As a wheelchair user, I am often required to negotiate access to premises. However, inclusion is more than just physical access and, on occasion, I have had to deal with difficult situations in accessing public transport, employment and education.

When I was younger, I would often remain silent when people made a comment or behaved in a way that was discriminatory. It is important you do not. In part, the reason I did not speak up was that I was unaware of my rights or how to make a complaint. The Discrimination Toolkit – Your guide to making a discrimination complaint provides invaluable assistance in making a complaint.

In time, I have realised the rights individuals have to make a complaint and why the ability to make a complaint is important. As a solicitor and a barrister, I always admired my clients who spoke up when they had been mistreated. Please do so. Complaints can often be resolved in a way that ensures individuals are treated with dignity and respect.

Thanks to Legal Aid NSW for updating the 2021 edition of the Discrimination Toolkit – Your guide to making a discrimination complaint. The Toolkit is a critical and important resource.

Dr Ben Gauntlett
Disability Discrimination Commissioner

October 2021

Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge and thank the many individuals and organisations who generously contributed funds, time and expertise to each edition of this publication.

They include Graeme Innes, (Disability Commissioner from 2004–2014), the Australian Human Rights Commission, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, Anti-Discrimination NSW, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Ashurst, Clayton Utz, and principal contributors Kingsford Legal Centre, Legal Aid NSW and Central Tablelands and Blue Mountains Community Legal Centre (previously Elizabeth Evatt Community Legal Centre).

The 2021 edition was updated by Legal Aid NSW.