Sex Discrimination

In the ACT it is against the law for someone to discriminate against you because of a characteristic that you have, or that someone thinks you have, in an area of public life such as employment, education, accommodation, provision of goods and services, clubs.

It is against the law for someone to discriminate against you because of your sex, or any characteristic generally imputed to your sex.

It is also against the law for someone to discriminate against you because of characteristics you have which are exclusive to one sex, including around pregnancy, potential pregnancy, and breastfeeding.

Example of sex discrimination.

Anthea tried to make an appointment at a barbershop. The shop owner said they only cut men’s hair and refused her service.

Paul is a qualified make-up artist. He tried to apply for a job with a cosmetics company in sales and demonstrations, but they wouldn’t take his resume, saying that the company only wanted to hire women and that men would not be a good fit in their team.

When Tess applied for a promotion, the selection panel asked her if she was pregnant, or if she expected to become pregnant during the next few years.

Are there any exceptions?

It is not unlawful to take special measures to help groups or individuals who are disadvantaged or have been unfairly treated and need support to fully enjoy their human rights. For example, some groups experience greater social and economic disadvantage than other groups in society and may therefore require special assistance to enjoy their rights to the same level that other Australians enjoy those rights. An example of this might be advertising a proportion of new positions to people of a particular sex in order to redress that an industry or field might have traditionally been dominated by the other sex.


To find out more or make a complaint.

For more information or to make a complaint about discrimination, vilification, sexual harassment or victimisation you can contact us by:

We can provide information about the complaint process or refer you to someone who can help you further. We provide free interpreting should you need it.