If you or a friend feel that you are being discriminated against or harassed, you can do something about it.
Discrimination or harassment of any kind is not okay, whether you're:
- at school
- at work
- undertaking training or further education
- participating in sport
- pursuing an interest through a club
- buying or selling something.
No matter what your age, federal and Victorian laws protect you from discrimination or harassment.
If you make a complaint about discrimination or harassment, or help someone else make a complaint, it's also against the law for someone to treat you unfairly or pick on you because you've done so.
What is discrimination and harassment?
Being discriminated against is being treated unfairly because of things like your:
- religious beliefs
- marital status.
Harassment is when you're persistently picked on, hassled or bullied because of these things.
How to deal with discrimination and harassment
If you feel that you're being discriminated against or harassed, a good first step to take is to look into making a complaint about it.
The Victorian and Federal Government both have Equal Opportunity Commissions to deal with discrimination and harassment complaints. There are state and Federal commissions because different laws cover different areas of discrimination and harassment.
If you're not sure where start, you can call the Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission on 1300 292 153 to ask if you need to make your complaint under federal or state law.
If you don't feel able to make a complaint by yourself, talk to a parent or teacher, or an older person that you trust and ask them to help you.
The following places can give you more information about your rights, how you're protected and how you can make a complaint.
- Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission - providing information and advice about discrimination and harassment, helps with complaints and offers a free and confidential advice.
- Australian Human Rights Commission - overseeing Federal laws protecting you from discrimination in the areas of race, sex or disability discrimination and human rights.
- Victorian and Civil Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) - while the Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission is the first place to go to for information and advice about discrimination and harassment, VCAT can look at complaints of discrimination and harassment that are referred to them by the Commission.
- Lawstuff - Discrimination - Information about discrimination in the workplace, lodging complaints and discrimination laws.
- Racism. No Way! - Helping students learn more about racism, including how to recognise and address it.