Traliant Resources


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 Victoria, the primary law prohibiting employment discrimination, including harassment, is the Equal Opportunity Act 2010.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 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.

  • Race (including colour, nationality, ethnicity and ethnic origin)
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Sex characteristics
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity
  • Breastfeeding
  • Pregnancy
  • Carer status
  • Lawful sexual activity
  • Marital status
  • Parental status
  • Disability
  • Religious belief or activity
  • Employment activity
  • Industrial activity
  • Profession, trade or occupation
  • Political belief or activity
  • Physical features
  • Spent conviction
  • Expunged homosexual conviction
  • Personal association with someone who has, or is assumed to have, any of these attributes

Definition of Sexual Harassment

Under Victorian law, sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual behaviour that causes a person to feel offended, humiliated or intimidated, where a reasonable person could have anticipated that reaction in the circumstances.

Sexual harassment can be a single incident or repeated behaviour.

Sexual harassment includes:

  • an unwelcome sexual advance
  • an unwelcome request for sexual favours
  • any other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.

Sexual harassment can be physical, verbal or written. Examples include:

  • comments about someone’s private life or the way they look
  • sexually suggestive behaviour, such as leering or staring
  • brushing up against someone, touching, fondling or hugging
  • sexually suggestive comments or jokes
  • displaying offensive images or objects
  • repeated requests to go out
  • requests for sex
  • sexually explicit emails, text messages or posts on social media
  • sexual assault
  • suggestive behaviour.

Filing a Claim in Victoria

A claim for employment discrimination or harassment based on a protected ground may be made to the Australian Human Rights Commission or the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.

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

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.