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 or clubs. It is against the law for someone to discriminate against you because of your age, whether you are a child, a young person or an older person.

Age discrimination can be direct such as comments to a person about their age or assumptions made about that person because of their age or it can be indirect such as requiring you to comply with a requirement that you are unable to comply with because of your age.

There are circumstances where age discrimination may not be against the law where age requirements are in legislation such as the age a person can get a drivers licence, get married, buy alcohol or access welfare payments. In some cases the age a person has to retire from a job might also be in legislation such as a judge, although in most cases there is now no obligation on people to retire or leave the workforce at a particular age.

Paying a young person wages on the basis of their age may be lawful where industrial law provides for youth wages, but asking young people to do unpaid work trials or paying them under award wages because of their age may be the basis for a discrimination claim.

Examples of age discrimination

A supervisor told a man he did not get a promotion because he was “too old for a promotion” and should be thinking about retirement.

An older job applicant is denied a position where the employer assumes that, because of the person’s age, he/she would not have the necessary computer skills.

An employer requires an older person to meet a physical fitness test that younger people can meet more easily, it may be indirect age discrimination unless the fitness standard is reasonable for the job in question.

A young person wanted to rent holiday accommodation for him and some friends and was refused on the basis of the age of his friends and himself.

A young person was provided some advice about options for reproductive health by her GP but when she went back to the practice to access that medication a different GP said she would need her parents consent.

Are there any exceptions?

It may not be unlawful in some circumstances to discriminate on the ground of age such as those outlined above where particular age restrictions exist in legislation or where there may be a genuine occupational requirement for the person to safely carry out the job.

To find out more or make a complaint

For more information you can contact us.
To make a complaint please complete our complaint form.