Traliant Resources


Australian Capital Territory
Equal Employment Opportunity


Please review the information below and then return to the workplace harassment prevention course.

Harassment and discrimination based on a protected ground are prohibited under federal law and the laws of states and territories. Additionally, federal law and the laws of states and territories prohibit bullying, whether related to a protected ground or not. The federal government and state and territory governments have agencies that help employers and employees understand these legal requirements and ensure compliance with the laws.

Applicable Laws


The primary federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination include the Age Discrimination Act 2004, the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, and the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986.

The Fair Work Act 2009 provides protections against bullying and taking adverse action against an employee because of a protected attribute.

State or Territory

In the Australian Capital Territory, the primary law prohibiting employment discrimination, including harassment, is the Discrimination Act 1991.

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 provides protection from harassment and sexual harassment as a workplace hazard or risk.

Protected Grounds


Harassment or discrimination based on any attribute listed below is prohibited throughout Australia under federal law.

  • Sex (including intersex status, pregnancy and breastfeeding)
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity
  • Race/Colour
  • Immigrant status
  • National or ethnic origin
  • Disability
  • Age
  • Marital or relationship status
  • Family responsibilities

State or Territory Law

Harassment or discrimination based on any attribute below is prohibited under Queensland law.

  • Age
  • Race (including colour or ethnic or national origin)
  • Sex
  • Gender identity
  • Sex characteristics
  • Sexuality
  • Pregnancy (including potential pregnancy and accessing IVF treatment)
  • Breastfeeding
  • Disability (including physical, sensory, intellectual disability, medical condition or illness, mental illness or psychiatric disability, or work related injury)
  • Genetic information
  • Immigration status
  • Religious conviction
  • Political conviction
  • Employment status (including being an apprentice, contractor, or employed full time or part time)
  • Being, or have been, subject to domestic or family violence
  • Family, carer, or kinship responsibilities
  • Industrial activity
  • Profession, trade, occupation or calling
  • Irrelevant criminal record
  • Physical features (including stature, weight, and scars)
  • Relationship status

Definition of Sexual Harassment

Under the Australian Capital Territory’s Discrimination Act 1991, sexual harassment is an unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favours or any other unwelcome sexual conduct in circumstances in which the person who is exposed to the conduct reasonably feels offended, humiliated or intimidated.

Anyone of any gender can experience sexual harassment. 

A single event can constitute sexual harassment under the Discrimination Act 1991.

Sexual harassment can arise by means of a range of behaviours, including:

  • verbal or written comments of a sexual nature (either to, or in the presence of another person),
  • sexual jokes,
  • questions about a person’s intimate life,
  • the display of sexually explicit images,
  • unwanted touching,
  • stalking, and
  • sexual assault.

Filing a Claim in the Australian Capital Territory

A claim for employment discrimination or harassment based on a protected ground may be made to the Australian Human Rights Commission or the Australian Capital Territory Human Rights Commission.

Complaints related to bullying and certain types of discriminatory actions may be made to the Australian Fair Work Ombudsman or to Work Safe ACT.

Potential Remedies

An employee who has experienced discrimination, harassment or bullying may be entitled to monetary and other remedies. An employer may be required to take certain actions to correct or redress the unlawful conduct. Examples of potential remedies are listed below.

  • Compensation for lost wages or benefits
  • Reinstatement, promotion, transfer or hiring
  • Injunctions to stop unlawful conduct

Victimisation Prohibited

It is unlawful for an employer to engage in victimisation as to an employee who makes a claim or allegation as to discrimination or harassment or assists someone else to make such a claim or allegation.

The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only.
It does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.