Personal association

Discrimination is treating, or proposing to treat, someone unfavourably because of a personal characteristic protected by the law. This includes bullying someone because of a protected characteristic.

In Victoria it is against the law to discriminate against you because you are personally associated with someone who has a protected characteristic.

Examples of personal association discrimination

Julia applies for a senior financial management position with a major bank. She is refused the job and told that the bank is a conservative body and is uncomfortable with the fact that her brother is a trade union official.

Renske is harassed and bullied at school because a newspaper prints an article that says her mother has HIV. The school fails to stop the bullying and Renske eventually leaves the school.

Where can discrimination occur?

Discrimination is against the law when it occurs in an area of public life such as clubs, schools and shops, or in the workplace.

Find out more about general places of discrimination or learn more specifically about personal association discrimination in employment

Are there any exceptions?

The Equal Opportunity Act 2010 includes some exceptions, which mean that discrimination will not be against the law in particular circumstances.

Positive steps can also be taken to help disadvantaged groups using special measures, which is not discrimination under the law.

If an exception or special measure does not apply, in some circumstances an exemption from the Act may be sought from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

Make a complaint to the Commission

If you think you have beendiscriminated againstsexually harassedvictimised or vilified, contact us and talk about your concerns. Our dispute resolution service is free and confidential. We can send you information about the complaint process and if we can’t help you we will try to refer you to someone who can.

To make a complaint:

Find out more about making a complaint.

Lodge a complaint with us
Chat live with us now
Subscribe to our eBulletin