Federal disability discrimination law

In Victoria it is against the law to discriminate against you because of a disability you have, or that people think you might have.

If you have disability, you are also protected by the federal Disability Discrimination Act 1992

The federal and Victorian discrimination laws share many similarities in their definition of disability.

Like Victoria’s Equal Opportunity Act 2010, the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 protects you from discrimination on the basis of disability if you:

  • use a therapeutic device or aid (under the Equal Opportunity Act this is called ‘equipment’ that ‘alleviates the effects of a person’s disability’, including a palliative or therapeutic device)
  • have a carer or assistant helping you, including situations where you are treated less favourably because you are accompanied by an interpreter, reader, assistant or carer who is helping you (under the Equal Opportunity Act this includes ‘a person who provides assistance or services to a person with a disability’)
  • have an assistance animal (the Equal Opportunity Act only covers assistance dogs, not assistance animals more generally).

Like the Equal Opportunity Act 2010, the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 also covers anyone who has an associate with a disability. This means that if you are with someone who has disability, then the law applies to you in the same way as it applies to your associate with the disability.

Disability standards

Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, the federal Attorney-General may issue enforceable standards to specify rights and responsibilities about equal access and opportunity for people with a disability.

Disability standards can be made in the areas of employment, education, public transport services, access to premises, accommodation and the administration of Commonwealth laws and programs.

At present, the following disability standards are in force at the Commonwealth level:

Access to Premises Standards

Disability Standards in Education

Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport

Make a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission

If you would like to make a complaint under federal disability discrimination law, you should contact the Australian Human Rights Commission on 1300 656 419.

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