Traliant Resources


New South Wales
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 New South Wales, the primary law prohibiting employment discrimination, including harassment, is the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977.

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

Protected Grounds


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 the law of New South Wales.

  • Disability (including diseases and illnesses)
  • Sex (including pregnancy and breastfeeding)
  • Race (including colour, nationality, descent and ethno-religious or national origin)
  • Age
  • Marital or domestic status
  • Homosexuality
  • Transgender status
  • Carer’s responsibilities.

Definition of Sexual Harassment

Under the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Act 1977, sexual harassment is any unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature that makes the person exposed to the conduct feel offended, humiliated or intimidated.

Sexual harassment can arise through physical conduct or verbal or written statements.

Examples of sexual harassment include:

  • sexually suggestive comments or jokes made in person, on the phone, in emails, or on social media that make a person feel offended
  • unwelcome or inappropriate touching, hugging, cornering or kissing
  • inappropriate staring or leering
  • intrusive questions about a person’s private life or physical appearance
  • sexual gestures, indecent exposure or inappropriate display of the body
  • requests or pressure for sex or other sexual acts
  • repeated or inappropriate invitations to go out on dates
  • sexually explicit pictures, posters or gifts that make a person feel offended
  • any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that happens online or on some form of technology. 


Filing a Claim in New South Wales

A claim for employment discrimination or harassment based on a protected ground may be made to the Australian Human Rights Commission or to Antidiscrimination New South Wales.

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

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. Example 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.