What is Discrimination?
Everybody discriminates. Employers discriminate in favour of applicants with the best skills, experience or presentation. Educational institutions discriminate in favour of those who work hard and achieve good results. Landlords discriminate in favour of those with good references. These sorts of choices are made on merit and to discriminate in this way is considered normal and acceptable.
Where discrimination is not acceptable is where choices are made not on merit but for reasons of prejudice, such as race, age, disability, or gender. A decision not to employ a woman as an airline pilot, even though she is the best applicant, because she might get pregnant, is not acceptable and various laws have been put in place to ensure that decisions like this can be challenged.
Direct or Indirect Discrimination
Discrimination can be direct or indirect. Direct discrimination covers situations where a person or organisation discriminates against another on the basis of stereotyped beliefs or views; for example, where an employer refuses to employ a qualified young person because of a stereotyped belief that young people are lazy and unreliable workers.
Indirect discrimination covers rules, practices or policies which appear to be neutral and impartially applied, but which in practice exclude a whole group of persons, and there is no reasonable basis for the exclusion. For instance, an unnecessary height requirement for a particular job might exclude applicants from races which are typically smaller in stature than Anglo-Saxons, or might exclude women.
This chapter covers Tasmanian and Commonwealth Acts governing unlawful discrimination.
Page last updated 27/02/2022