Sex discrimination

What is sex discrimination?

Sex discrimination is against the law.

It is when you have been treated less favourably than somebody else because:

  • of your sex (because you are a man or a woman)
  • you are the relative, friend or colleague of someone of a particular sex.

Indirect discrimination is also against the law. This is when a rule or requirement is the same for everyone but unfairly affects people of a particular sex, and is not reasonable in the circumstances.

In what areas is sex discrimination against the law?

Sex discrimination is against the law in certain public places, including:

  • workplaces, such as when you apply for a job or while you are at work
  • employment agencies, such as when you use recruitment companies
  • when you access goods and services, such as when you go shopping, do your banking or access medical services 
  • state education, such as when you apply for study and during your studies 
  • accommodation, such as when you rent accommodation 
  • industrial organisations, such as membership of a union
  • qualifying bodies, such as an institute that issues qualifications
  • at registered clubs (clubs that sell alcohol or have gambling machines), such as when you try to enter or join a club.

What can I do if I experience sex discrimination?

If you think that you have experienced sex discrimination, you can try speaking to the person or organisation responsible to express how you feel. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, or if it isn’t appropriate, you can contact us to make a complaint of discrimination.

If you are unsure if you have experienced sex discrimination or need more information, you can contact our enquiry service. 

Complaint case studies

Jane* and Mark* were work colleagues.
Shabnam* attended a girls-only high school requiring her to wear a dress or skirt as the uniform.
Last updated:

12 Jul 2024

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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.

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