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 religious conviction. It is also against the law for someone to publicly incite hatred toward you, revulsion of you, serious contempt for you, or severe ridicule of you because of your religious conviction.
Religious conviction includes having or not having a religious conviction, belief, opinion or affiliation, and engaging or not engaging in religious activity.
The definition of religious conviction also encompasses the cultural heritage and distinctive spiritual practices, observances, beliefs and teachings of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and engaging in that heritage.
Daniela was offered a job working at a supermarket. She told them she could work any shift except Friday evenings and Saturdays because of the Sabbath. She was then told that she could no longer have the job because her religious beliefs were too hard to accommodate.
There are some situations in which it is not unlawful to discriminate against someone because of their religious conviction.
It is not unlawful to discriminate against a person on the ground of their religious conviction in relation to the ordination of ministers of religion or the training of people seeking ordination as ministers of religion. It is also not unlawful to discriminate on the ground of religious conviction in relation to employment or study in a religious educational institution, or in relation to work by a religious body in the provision of health services.
It is also against the law to vilify a person or group of people on the grounds of relgious conviction. Vilification means to publicly incite hatred towards a person or group of people which is likely to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate that person or group of people.
The applicant, an ACT resident, complained that he was discriminated against by the respondent, a resident of NSW, because of his religious conviction. The complaint was that the respondent operated a number of blog pages, on which were published publicly viewable materials which vilified the applicant on the ground of his religious conviction, being his membership of the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO).
In the first decision, ACAT considered whether it had geographical jurisdiction to hear the matter. The Discrimination Commissioner provided submissions on the issue of jurisdiction and the relevance of the HR Act to the proper construction of section 67A of the Discrimination Act. Having concluded that it did have jurisdiction to hear the matter, ACAT went on to find that the respondent had vilified the applicant on the basis of his religious conviction, by allowing derogatory comments written by a third person to be published on his online blog. Orders were made requiring the respondent to remove the comments (and any similar comments) from any website or social media he controls and to refrain from making or publishing comments of this nature in the future.