Small business - four things you need to know

Download this page as a fact sheet (PDF , 102.5 KB)

1. What is unlawful discrimination in NSW?

Unlawful discrimination is treating a person less favourably than others in similar situations because of their:

  • age
  • disability
  • homosexuality
  • marital or domestic status
  • race
  • responsibilities as a carer
  • sex (including breastfeeding and pregnancy)
  • transgender status.

2. When does the law apply? 

The law applies in areas including:

  • providing goods and services (such as shops, banks, hospitals, hotels, sporting facilities, clubs and entertainment venues)
  • work, for example: recruitment, terms and conditions of employment, becoming qualified or licenced, joining a trade union or employer association
  • when renting a house or flat
  • at a government school, college or university.

3. What must I do for customers? 

As a service provider, you must take all reasonable steps to ensure that you and your employees, contractors and agents do not discriminate against your clients or customers by:

  • refusing to provide goods or services
  • offering goods and services on different terms – for example requiring a larger deposit
  • subjecting them to harassment or bullying
  • not providing reasonable adjustments for a person with a disability.

4. What must I do as an employer?

You must take all reasonable steps to ensure that you and your employees, contractors and agents do not discriminate against, harass or bully other employees.

Your employees, contractors and agents are responsible for:

  • their own behaviour at work
  • complying with your anti-discrimination, harassment and bullying policies.

You also have the right to take action if you are personally discriminated against, harassed or bullied, for example by your suppliers.

Depending on the size of your business, you may not be covered by the Anti-Discrimination Act. Even so, the Australian Human Rights Commission could have jurisdiction to deal with your situation. 

Last updated:

28 Jul 2021

Was this content useful?
We will use your rating to help improve the site.

Please select a valid option.

Please don't include personal or financial information here

Please select a valid option.

Please don't include personal or financial information here
Thank you for your feedback.
Close

We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the ongoing connection Aboriginal people have to this land and recognise Aboriginal people as the original custodians of this land.

Top Return to top of page Top