Young people case studies

Resolving your complaints – case studies

Each year the Australian Human Rights Commission helps young people across Australia resolve their complaints of discrimination.

Here are some examples of the sort of complaints we receive from young people. More case studies of complaints conciliated by the Commission are available in our conciliation register.

Age discrimination – employment

Fatima, 23, was doing well in her job with a retail store. She was promoted to Store Manager by her Area Manager but when she had a disagreement with Helen, the store owner, she was dismissed. Helen told Fatima that she was too young to manage a store. Fatima came to the Commission for help. We contacted Helen and she denied making the comment about Fatima’s age. We held a conciliation meeting and, Fatima’s complaint was settled with a payment of $1,500 compensation.

Age discrimination – access to premises

Mark is 19 years old. He went to a city nightclub with some friends but was told he couldn’t get in because the club was for over 20’s. Mark emailed the Commission about this and we contacted the club to discuss its entry policy. The club told us that it only allowed people over 20 onto the premises – but it didn’t have any reason for this. As a result of Mark’s complaint the club changed its policy to allow everyone over 18 to enter.

Sexual harassment - employment

Zoe is 19 and works in a fast food store. Not long after she started Ben, her supervisor, began calling her at work, texting her after work, giving her presents and asking questions about her personal life. It made Zoe feel very uncomfortable. She told the company about Ben’s behaviour but nothing happened. She then asked the Commission for help. We contacted Ben and the company and held a conciliation meeting to discuss things. The company apologised to Zoe for not taking her complaint seriously and agreed to do more to promote its sexual harassment policies to staff. In addition, Ben and the Company agreed to pay Zoe $3,500 in compensation.

Disability discrimination – using services

Chris is 16 and uses a wheelchair. He wanted to take part in a holiday program organised by the local council at the roller skating rink. However, the rink’s owner told Chris he could only be included if four other people agreed to skate with him. He thought that Chris’ wheelchair would be a risk to other skaters. The Commission helped to resolve the problem through a conciliation meeting. The owner agreed to provide wheelchair accessible toilet facilities, develop a policy for the use of the rink by people with disabilities and pay Chris $1,000 in general damages.

Pregnancy discrimination - employment

Alison is 22 and works in a bar. After she became pregnant, she noticed that she was being rostered on fewer shifts. Alison raised the matter internally but didn’t get anywhere. She made a complaint to the Commission and we contacted the bar about her problem. The bar told us that there had been a change to the rosters during the time Alison was away on sick leave. However, after a conciliation meeting, the bar agreed to pay Alison $5,000 to settle her complaint.

Disability discrimination – employment

Luke told his boss he had asthma and that it could get really bad on some winter mornings and he needed to take medication. He asked if he could come in to work a bit later on those bad days. Luke’s boss told him that if he was going to be unreliable he should think about resigning. Not long after, Luke’s boss changed him from permanent to casual staff and his hours were cut back until he only had one shift a week. Luke complained to the Commission about how he was treated.

Age discrimination – renting a house

Frank and two of his friends wanted to rent a house together when they started uni. They approached three real estate agents – two wanted to charge them more than the advertised rent because they were under 21 and might ‘cause damage to the property by partying too hard’. The third real estate agent said he wouldn’t rent them a property because they were too young and all male.