Criminal record discrimination occurs when someone does not experience equality of opportunity in employment because of their criminal record. This may include being refused a job, being dismissed from employment, being denied training opportunities or being harassed at work.
It is not discrimination if a person’s criminal record means that he or she is unable to perform the inherent requirements of a particular job. This must be determined on a case-by-case basis, according to the nature of the job and the nature of the criminal record. Employers in certain industries may also be legally obliged to refuse employment to people with certain types of criminal records.
The Commission can investigate complaints of discrimination in employment on the basis of criminal record and, where appropriate, try to resolve them by conciliation.
Criminal record discrimination is not unlawful under federal anti-discrimination law. However, Tasmania and the Northern Territory have laws that make criminal record discrimination unlawful.
Employers should only ask applicants and employees to disclose specific criminal record information if they have identified that certain criminal convictions or offences are relevant to the inherent requirements of the position.