News : Article

​Disability discrimination tops complaints list

Graphic: Man in a wheelchair (from "20 Years: 20 Stories" project)

The Australian Human Rights Commission was asked to investigate 2,013 complaints under federal anti-discrimination law in 2015-16.

New data shows the Australian Human Rights Commission was asked to investigate 2,013 complaints under federal anti-discrimination law in 2015-16, down from 2,388 complaints lodged in the previous year.

Alleged discrimination under the Disability Discrimination Act, primarily in employment and the provision of goods and services, accounted for 37% of complaints in the last financial year.

The Racial Discrimination Act accounted for 21% of total complaints the Commission received during the year. Most of these complaints also related to employment and goods and services.

The 2015-16 complaints data is published online, alongside the Australian Human Rights Commission's 2015-16 Annual Report.

Of the 2,013 complaints received in the past financial year, 20% were lodged under the Sex Discrimination Act, 14% were lodged under the Australian Human Rights Commission Act, and 8% were lodged under the Age Discrimination Act.

Of the 1,308 complaints that went to conciliation at the Commission during the past financial year, 989 complaints (76%) were successfully resolved. The conciliation success rate in 2015-16 is the highest on record.

If a complaint is not resolved, or it is discontinued for another reason, a complainant can take their complaint to the Federal Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court.

Last year, only 3% of total complaints that were finalised with Commission were subsequently taken to court by the complainant.

It took the Commission an average of 3.8 months to finalise a complaint in the 2015-16 reporting year. In that year, 94% of surveyed parties were satisfied with the Commission's service.

More than 70% of people who answered a Commission survey about their involvement in the complaints process said the process helped them to better understand their rights and responsibilities.

Some conciliated complaints led to agreements between parties to introduce anti-discrimination policies and provide anti-discrimination training in workplaces. Other outcomes included agreements to modify buildings to address disability discrimination.

Date: 7 November 2016

Source: Australian Human Rights Commission


Image credits

  1. Man in a wheelchair (from "20 Years: 20 Stories" project) - Australian Human Rights Commission