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Equal opportunity

SAT and the Commissioner for Equal Opportunity are independent of each other.

Complaints of unlawful discrimination under the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 should be lodged with the Commissioner for Equal Opportunity.

The Commissioner may refer matters to SAT where the Commissioner:

  • has been unable to resolve the complaint by conciliation; and
  • has been asked to do so because a complaint has been declined.

Process at SAT

SAT enquires into every matter the Commissioner for Equal Opportunity refers to it.

  • The Commissioner will submit a report on the matter to SAT.
  • Matters may be resolved by mediation or by hearing.

What can SAT do?

SAT may dismiss the complaint or find the complaint substantiated, and:

  • award damages not exceeding $40,000.
  • make an order prohibiting the respondent from repeating the unlawful conduct.
  • order the respondent to redress any loss or damage.
  • make a declaration that an agreement made in contravention of the Act is void.

Exemptions

SAT can grant exemptions from the operation of specified parts of the Equal Opportunity Act.

Are there fees for Equal Opportunity Matters?

There are no fees for equal opportunity matters.

Interim Orders

Detailed investigation of a complaint may take some time and the complainant’s situation, status or rights, or the respondent’s situation, status or rights might need to be protected during the investigation.

For example, an eviction order against a complainant in relation to a tenancy matter might need to be stopped whilst a complaint is being investigated; or a threatened termination of employment might need to be stopped whilst investigation is being carried out.

In such circumstances, an Interim Order can be made by SAT ordering the respondent not to evict the tenant or not to terminate the employee until investigation of the complaint has been carried out and a determination of the matter is made.

How to Apply for an Interim Order

An interim order application can only be lodged by a person whose complaint has been accepted by the Commissioner. It can be made in one of two ways - by applying to SAT and making an interim application. Alternatively, you may request the Equal Opportunity Commissioner to apply on your behalf. 

Last updated: 23-Aug-2016

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