Under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 it is against the law for local governments to treat, or propose to treat, someone unfavourably because of a personal characteristic protected by law. It is also against the law to sexually harass someone.
For example, when a councillor is performing their public duties they must not discriminate against another councillor or council committee member.
Local government and human rights
Under the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities, local councils in Victoria has an obligation to respect human rights in the way they go about their work and how they deliver their services.
Find out more about how local councils have been meeting their human rights obligations and how the Commission supports local government in this endeavour on our Local government page.
Are there any exceptions to the law?
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).
There are also specific exceptions that apply to local government, which permit a councillor to discriminate on the basis of political belief or activity in the performance of their public functions.
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.