Work Out Your Rights - Info for Employees

Know your rights at work

Phone: 1300 656 419 (local call) or 02 9284 9888
E-mail: complaintsinfo@humanrights.gov.au

The Australian Human Rights Commission is a specialist agency that investigates and resolves complaints about discrimination at work. You can make a complaint no matter where you live in Australia and it doesn’t cost anything to make a complaint.

How can the Australian Human Rights Commission help?

We can help you if you have been:

  • refused a job
  • dismissed from a job
  • refused a promotion, transfer or other benefit associated with employment
  • given unfair terms or conditions of employment
  • refused training opportunities
  • refused flexible work arrangements
  • harassed or bullied

and you believe this has happened because of your:

  • sexual preference
  • religion
  • criminal record
  • trade union activity
  • political opinion

The Commission can also help if you have been sexually harassed at work.

Who can complain to the Australian Human Rights Commission?

We cover all types of workers including if you are:

  • an apprentice or trainee
  • on probation
  • a part-time or full-time worker
  • a casual or permanent worker
  • a labour hire worker
  • a contract worker
  • working on commission
  • on a work visa.

We cover all types of employers, no matter how big or small, including:

  • the Commonwealth Government
  • the State Government (except for sex discrimination)
  • private companies
  • small businesses
  • charities
  • partnerships
  • faith based organisations

We also cover recruitment and employment agencies.

What can the Australian Human Rights Commission do?

We can give you information about your rights under federal anti-discrimination law and explain how you can make a complaint.

If you have a question about discrimination at work or want to make a complaint you can contact us by phone, e-mail, TTY, SMS or fax.

Phone: 1300 656 419 (local call) or 02 9284 9888
E-mail: complaintsinfo@humanrights.gov.au
TTY: 1800 620 241 (toll free)
Fax: 02 9284 9611

We can look into your complaint and where appropriate, help you resolve it through a process called 'conciliation'.

Our staff have specialised skills to investigate and help people resolve complaints about discrimination in employment.

Conciliation may be offered straight away if your complaint is about your current job or if you are about to return to work. Conciliation can help you sort the problem out quickly and keep your job.

There may be other outcomes from conciliation such as: agreements to provide an apology; pay lost wages or other compensation; introduce flexible work arrangements or develop training or policies to prevent discrimination.

If your complaint cannot be resolved you may be able to take the complaint to court.

There is no time limit to make a complaint

There is no strict time by which you have to make a complaint. However, you should lodge your complaint as soon as you can as this will make it easier and quicker to sort it out.

It’s free to make a complaint

It doesn’t cost anything to make a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission. There are no application fees or filing fees. 

You don’t need a lawyer to make a complaint or participate in conciliation. However, you can have a lawyer or an advocate help if you wish.