What is Discrimination?
Discrimination is broadly defined as treating one person unfairly over another according to factors unrelated to their ability or potential. Legislation prohibits discrimination on the specified grounds. The legislation provides limited exemption for some measures, such as affirmative action programs, designed to achieve increased representation of groups historically under-represented in the workforce. Discrimination may be direct or indirect and may not always be intentional.
- Direct discrimination occurs when someone receives less favourable treatment on the basis of characteristics or stereotyped assumptions which are not job or study related.
- Indirect discrimination occurs when policies and practices which appear neutral or fair because they are applied to everyone, have a different and disadvantageous impact on groups of people covered by equal opportunity legislation. For more information see the document Indirect Discrimination: Fair in Form, Fair in Effect (.pdf).
Seeking Advice and Support
A network of Discrimination Advisers provides advice and support for staff and students with concerns regarding discrimination, as well as informing staff and students about their rights and responsibilities with regard to equal opportunity legislation and University Equal Opportunity Policy (MPF1241) through information sessions.
The Discrimination Adviser’s role is to be a first point of contact if you believe you have been discriminated against. A Discrimination Adviser can provide advice and guidance on the University's complaints resolution process and make a referral to other procedures or appropriate University services. A Discrimination Adviser will assist you to deal effectively with a situation or issue that is seen as discriminatory. A Discrimination Adviser is not an advocate or legal expert and does not ‘judge’ whether you are right or wrong. Anything you discuss with a Discrimination Adviser will remain confidential.
Rural and hospital campuses Harassment and Discrimination Contact Officers are located at most rural and hospital campuses of the University, where there may not be a Discrimination Adviser. Their role is to be a first point of contact for concerns about discrimination and harassment and to assist staff and students to access an Adviser. Contact Officers are also responsible for ensuring that there is information available to staff and students on their rights and responsibilities, and on where to get advice and support.
Documents and Resources
- Equal Opportunity Policy (MPF1241)
- Discrimination - Who Can I Talk To? (.pdf, .doc)
- Freedom from Harassment & Discrimination for Staff & Students Off-Campus (.pdf, .doc)
- Indirect Discrimination - Fair in form: fair in effect? (.pdf)
- Watch Your Language - Guidelines for Non-Discriminatory Language (.pdf)