Equal Opportunity Act

Equal Opportunity Act


The purpose of the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA) is to promote equality of opportunity for all South Australians. It aims to prevent discrimination against people and to give them a fair chance to take part in economic and community life.

Types of unlawful discrimination

Not all kinds of discrimination are against the law. Under South Australian law, only particular types of discrimination occurring in certain places are against the law. In South Australia, it is unlawful to discriminate because of:

  • age
  • association with a child (in customer service or accommodation)
  • caring responsibilities
  • disability
  • gender identity
  • marital or domestic partnership status
  • intersex status 
  • pregnancy
  • race
  • religious appearance or dress (in work or study)
  • sex
  • sexual orientation
  • spouse or partner's identity.

Discrimination laws also cover:

  • sexual harassment
  • victimisation for making a complaint about discrimination or sexual harassment or whistleblowing.
Places where discrimination is unlawful

The Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA) only covers discrimination that happens in public life, not in private. In South Australia it is unlawful to discriminate in:

  • work, including volunteers and contract workers
  • customer service
  • accommodation
  • selling land
  • clubs and associations
  • education
  • granting qualifications
  • advertising.
Loss or humiliation

Discrimination is against the law when, as a result, someone:

  • feels humiliated, embarrassed, ridiculed, denigrated or segregated
  • is denied access or refused services
  • loses an opportunity or income.
Time limits

A complaint about something that happened can be made within 12 months of that date. Late complaints can be accepted in some cases. Contact us for more information.


Sometimes discrimination that would usually be against the law is allowed under the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA). Exemptions are specific and strict requirements apply.