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 marital status (whether you’re married or not).

The law says that it is wrong to discriminate against someone on these grounds in certain areas of public life. It shouldn’t matter what your sex, race, marital status, religion, sexuality or gender identity is or what physical features, disability or political views you have.

Find out more about what you can do about discrimination and victimisation.

Pregnancy and parental discrimination at work

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

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

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.

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.

At work

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 bullying and discrimination at work.

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 and cyberbullying.

Making a complaint

If you want to make a discrimination or harassment complaint you should consider how to chose which commission or tribunal is best to lodge your complaint.

Get help

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