Treating someone unfairly because they have a particular personal characteristic or belong to a certain group is unlawful in South Australia. You cannot discriminate against anyone on the grounds of:

  • age
  • association with a child (in customer service or accommodation)
  • caring responsibilities
  • chosen gender
  • disability
  • identity of spouse or domestic partner
  • marital or domestic partnership status
  • pregnancy
  • race
  • religious appearance or dress (in work or study)
  • sex or sexuality.

The Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA) covers discrimination in areas such as:

  • employment, including volunteers
  • accommodation
  • clubs and associations
  • customer service, goods and services
  • education or the granting of qualifications
  • sale of land.

Promoting fairness

Everyone at work can help promote fairness by:

  • being familiar with any relevant policies and procedure
  • supporting others if discrimination is observed at work
  • not harassing, bullying or discriminating others
  • reporting inappropriate behaviour
  • modelling inclusive behaviour and language
  • addressing unconscious or cognitive bias.

Tips for employers

PCBUs can create inclusive workplaces by:

  • taking all reasonable steps to prevent discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation
  • treating workers and customers fairly in your dealings with them
  • having a policy which rules out discrimination and harassment
  • developing a procedure for dealing with complaints, and responding quickly, seriously and confidentially to any complaints
  • supporting those who have been discriminated against or harassed
  • making a worker an equal opportunity contact person
  • monitoring and maintaining a culture of equal opportunity
  • conducting awareness training
  • offering flexible work arrangements
  • building a socially and physically accessible workplace.

By taking simple steps, you can prevent discrimination and harassment in your business, and save time, money and your reputation. You can also improve staff relations and customer satisfaction. The Equal Opportunity Commission’s easy-to-use handbook for employers in South Australia provides practical information and tools, including action checklists and templates for an equal opportunity policy, complaint procedure and code of conduct.

Making a complaint

If you believe you have faced discrimination in the workplace, you can lodge a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC).

The EOC provides an independent complaint handling service to help workers address issues of sexual harassment or discrimination (based on disability, race, sex, age, sexuality, pregnancy or marital status). They do not act as advocates.

Go to their making a complaint page or phone 8207 1977, country callers 1800 188 163.

The Australian Human Rights Commission and the Fair Work Ombudsman may also be able to assist.

Further information

What is discrimination? - Equal Opportunity Commission

Preventing and responding to work-related violence guide