There is a very real risk of a complaint being made against an agency under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) or the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) when a person with disability is not treated fairly in the workplace. In NSW, agencies must comply with both the Acts.  

Both these acts protect people with disability from discriminatory treatment in a range of areas including:  

  • employment 
  • the recruitment process, 
  • conditions of employment 
  • opportunities for training or promotion 
  • dismissal. 

The necessary adjustments should be arranged as quickly as possible so that the person can start work on day one and to avoid a disability discrimination complaint. 

Direct and indirect discrimination

Under both the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) and the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW), discrimination may be direct or indirect. In essence, direct disability discrimination is when you are treated unfairly because of your disability, while indirect disability discrimination is when a requirement that is the same for everyone unfairly affects people with disability. 

A failure to make appropriate accommodations for a person with disability, so that they are able to work or participate equally in some aspect of work, could amount to direct or indirect discrimination. 

For further information about the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) and Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW), you should seek advice within your agency and/or contact the Australian Human Rights Commission (regarding the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth)) or the Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW (regarding the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW)). The Australian Human Rights Commission and Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW may be able to provide further guidance to agencies about what adjustments may be necessary to assist with the employment of people with disability.