Under Victorian and federal anti-discrimination laws, if you are the best person for the job, you have the right to be appointed to that position, regardless of your background or personal characteristics. From advertising to interviewing to selection, the entire application process should be open and accessible, and not present barriers that could discourage you from applying.
If you have a disability or impairment, you also have rights at work, including during the recruitment stage. For example, an employer may need to consider making reasonable adjustments during a job interview.
The advertisement must focus on the essential skills and abilities required for the job. The language used in the advertisement should not discourage some people from applying for the job or imply that only certain applicants will be considered.
It is against the law to publish or display an advertisement that indicates, or could reasonably be understood to indicate, an intention to discriminate because of personal characteristics protected by the law. For example, by specifying the preferred race, age or gender of applicants.
Anyone can notify the Commission of a discriminatory advertisement, regardless of whether or not they are directly affected.
If you are asked to attend an interview, you should be assessed against the essential and desirable criteria, in the same way, and by the same selection panel.
Interview questions should relate directly to the key requirements of the job, such as travel, overtime or performing any necessary physical activities. You are not obliged to disclose information about disability or illness unless it is relevant to the job.
During the interview, it is against the law to request information about your personal background or characteristics – such as your age, marital status or parental status – and then refuse you a job based on this information.
Testing and assessment
Sometimes you may be asked to take a pre-employment test or assessment, for example a medical or aptitude (psychological or psychometric) test. These tests should only be used to assess your ability to perform the requirements of the job, based on the selection criteria. All information must be treated with strict confidentiality.
If you have a disability, make sure that the employer has taken any relevant special needs into consideration during the test. An employer cannot refuse to employ you on the basis of a medical test that discloses a disability unrelated to the adequate performance of the job.
Employers are legally obliged to avoid discrimination during every stage of the recruitment process. Read more about the responsibilities of employers during recruitment and selection, including advertising, conducting interviews, pre-employment tests and the selection process.
Make a complaint
An employee can lodge a complaint of discrimination with the Commission if they believe they have been treated unfairly or denied legitimate employment opportunities because of a personal characteristic that is protected under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010.