Discrimination, harassment and bullying

Discrimination, harassment and bullying

It is against the law to:

  • discriminate against someone because of a personal characteristic protected by the law, including a person with a disability
  • sexually harass someone
  • vilify a person or group of people on the basis of their race or religion
  • behave in a way that is racially offensive or abusive to a person or group of people based on their race, colour, nationality or ethnic origin.

You can also take action if you are being bullied at work or at school.

Discrimination

Discrimination means being treated unfairly or not as well as others because of a personal characteristic like age, gender, race or disability.

The law says that it is wrong to discriminate against someone on these grounds in certain areas of public life.

Find out more about discrimination and victimisation and what you can do if you have been victimised after making a complaint.

Making a complaint

If you want to make a discrimination or harassment complaint you should get legal advice before lodging a complaint. Discrimination law is complex and it can be confusing knowing which option is the best one for you. If you complain to one place, sometimes you cannot later change your mind and complain elsewhere.

Some options have a 21 day time limit, others have a 12 month time limit. It is best to seek advice as soon as possible after the discrimination occurs.

Find out how you can make a discrimination or harassment complaint.

Victimisation after making a complaint

It is against the law if someone, like your employer, victimises you for making a complaint about discrimination. You have the right to make a complaint about discrimination, harassment or bullying without fear of victimisation.

Find out how you can get help if you have been victimised for making a complaint.

Disability discrimination

If you have a disability it can be unlawful to discriminate against you in certain areas of public life including in your employment, education, access to premises, accommodation and goods and services.

Find out more about what you can do about disability discrimination.

Pregnancy, parental and carer discrimination at work

It is against the law for your employer to treat you badly because you are pregnant or have parental or carer responsibilities.

Find out more about what you can do about pregnancy and parental discrimination at work.

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is unwelcome or unwanted sexual behaviour that offends, humiliates, intimidates or undermines you. It can be physical, verbal, written or other conduct.

Find out more about what you can do about sexual harassment.

Racial abuse

It can be unlawful to publicly behave in a way that is racially offensive or abusive to a person or group of people based on their race, religion, colour, nationality or ethnic origin.

Find out more about what you can do about racial vilification and acts of racial hatred.

Workplace bullying

Bullying is repeated verbal, physical, social or psychological abuse that creates a risk to a person's health and safety (including mental health). In the most severe cases, bullying behaviours can now be treated as a crime in Victoria.

Bullying at work is considered discrimination when someone treats you less favourably because of your protected characteristics.

Find out more about what you can do about workplace bullying and discrimination.

Bullying at school or online

Young people have a right to feel safe at school. However the use of technology, including the internet and mobile phones, means it can be harder to escape being bullied.

Find out more about what you can do to stop bullying online or at school.

Get help

Find out how you can get help with discrimination harassment and bullying.