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 for someone to discriminate against you because of your political beliefs or activities, or what people think these might be.
Political belief or activity is where someone:
- has, or does not have, a lawful political belief
- is, or is not, a member of a political party
- takes part in, or refuses to take part in, political action.
Examples of political belief or activity discrimination
At a job interview Ally is asked if she is a member of a conservative organisation. When she says no, the interviewer abruptly ends the conversation, claiming that all employees must share the employer’s political beliefs.
Graham, a year 11 student, submits an assignment for his politics class which supports making euthanasia legal and a political party that advocates for law reform in this area. His teacher is concerned about Graham’s political beliefs and tells the principal, who suspends him because of his views.
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 political belief or activity 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).
In addition, an employer may discriminate against you because of your political belief or activity where the job involves work as political adviser for a government minister, work for a political party or electorate office, or any similar employment.
Make a complaint to the Commission
If you think you have been discriminated against, sexually harassed, 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:
- contact us by phone, in person or email. We also have a free interpreter service
- submit your complaint online or download our complaint form (DOC, 230KB).
Find out more about making a complaint.