Temporary Exemptions

Temporary Exemptions


If there are good reasons for treating people differently, the South Australian Employment Tribunal (SAET) may grant you an exemption from the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA). The Tribunal conducts public hearings and can grant exemptions for up to three years.

You may be granted an exemption if your program or service aims to:

  • promote equality of opportunity between people
  • prevent certain kinds of discrimination
  • help people to participate in the economic and social life of the community.

Some services, projects and positions will already be exempt from the Equal Opportunity Act because they are considered special measures and/or they are covered by general exemptions in the Act.

Preparing your application

If you need to apply for an exemption, your application should include:

  • why you are seeking an exemption
  • how your program or service will help provide equal opportunity
  • details about your organisation for example your service and customers
  • the section/s of the Equal Opportunity Act from which you are seeking to be exempt
  • how long the exemption is required
  • what will happen if the exemption is not granted for example, evidence that you will lose customers if you cannot employ a person of a particular age, race or sex.

You should also consider the effects on your business if the exemption is granted. For example, could some of your customers or staff react badly? How would you deal with this?

Lodging your application

Applications for an exemption are lodged with the South Australian Employment Tribunal Registry and the Tribunal notifies the Equal Opportunity Commission that an application has been made. In certain cases, if it has a wider public interest, the Commissioner for Equal Opportunity may support or oppose the application.

The Tribunal conducts a public hearing to determine whether it is necessary and appropriate for an exemption to be granted.  An important factor is whether or not the exemption redresses the effect of past discrimination.

For more information, contact us or the South Australian Employment Tribunal on (08) 8207 0999.