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Advertising

Equal opportunity law makes it unlawful to publish advertisements that indicate an intention to discriminate.

Examples

A dance club poster advertised that on Friday nights, women would be admitted free but men would be charged $15.

A retailer placed an ad on an internet job site seeking a ‘fresh-faced Gen Y to work in sales’.

Legal action could be taken against these advertisers, whether or not they go on to act in a discriminatory way. Also, if the club does charge men an entry fee but admits women free of charge, or if the retailer does take age into account in selecting its sales staff, someone who is treated unfavourably can lodge a discrimination complaint.

Exemptions

Sometimes there are legitimate reasons to advertise in a way that would potentially be discriminatory. In that case, you can apply to the Equal Opportunity Tribunal for an exemption.

Example

An Aboriginal health service wanted to advertise positions for health-care workers and state that preference would be given to Indigenous applicants. It applied for an exemption on the ground that having Indigenous staff would best meet the needs of the community it served. If an exemption is granted, the advertisement is lawful.


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