Discrimination is when someone is not treated as fairly as someone else in a similar situation.

If you have what it takes to do the job, your employer has to give you the opportunity to show your worth, regardless of your:

  • sexual preference
  • religion
  • political opinion
  • race

And regardless of whether you:

  • are a man or a woman
  • have a physical or intellectual disability
  • are a new migrant or from a migrant background
  • are young or old
  • are married or single.

Asking for particular information, such as marital status, childcare responsibilities or religion during an interview is illegal.

There are two types of discrimination – direct and indirect.


Direct discrimination is treating someone unequally (or unfairly) simply because they belong to a particular group or category of people. For example, you answer a job advertisement for a receptionist. You’re told over the phone that because you’re a man, you’d be wasting your time.


Indirect discrimination results when a requirement, rule, policy, practice or procedure which appears to treat everyone the same is applied, and it has an unfair effect on particular individuals or groups of people. For example, a job advertisement says that all applicants must have ten years experience in the field. (A young person could be well qualified but is ineligible for the job.)

Unions can help you to fight discrimination.

Joining your first union is easy – simply call Australian Unions on 1300 486 466 or visit australianunions.org.au

Learn more

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