Businesses are legally obliged to prevent discrimination and harassment when providing goods, facilities or services to the public.
This applies to all businesses no matter how large or small, regardless of whether the goods or services are paid for or free.
Under state and federal law, discrimination is treating people unfairly because of their particular personal characteristics or because they belong to a certain group.
In South Australia, it is illegal to treat people unfairly because of their:
- caring responsibilities
- chosen gender
- marital or domestic partnership status
- religious appearance or dress
- spouse or partner's identity
Discrimination can include:
- refusing to provide goods or services
- providing lower standards to certain people
- offering people different terms and conditions to others.
As a shop owner or service provider, you are responsible if your staff discriminate against customers or clients. If you can't show that you have taken reasonable steps to prevent discrimination and harassment then you can be held responsible, even if you were not involved. This is known as vicarious liability.
For more information on vicarious liability and taking reasonable steps, use the links below.
Shop owners and service providers in South Australia have responsibilities under other state and federal laws such as work health and safety acts, consumer laws, and the Fair Trading Act 1987 (SA). Under these laws, you are obliged to provide a safe environment and to conduct your business in a fair and honest way.
This section gives you information on how to work within equal opportunity law.