Sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status discrimination

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Special measures

Special measures have the goal of fostering greater equality by supporting groups of people who face, or have faced, entrenched discrimination so they can have similar access to opportunities as others in the community.

The SDA provides for special measures that improve equality of opportunity for people based on their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex status, relationship status, pregnancy or potential pregnancy status or family responsibilities.

Employers’ obligations

Employers have a legal responsibility to take all reasonable steps to prevent discrimination and harassment.

‘Reasonable steps’ may include putting in place policies and procedures to create a discrimination-free environment. It could also include procedures to deal with allegations of discrimination and harassment made by employees or customers.

It is against the law to victimise a person for making, or proposing to make, a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission about sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status discrimination.

Employers can also be held legally responsible for discrimination or harassment by their employees. For more information, see the fact sheet, Vicarious liability at

Useful links

Guideline: Transgender people at work (Victoria)

Further information

Australian Human Rights Commission
Level 3, 175 Pitt Street

GPO Box 5218


Telephone: (02) 9284 9600

National Information Service: 1300 656 419
TTY: 1800 620 241



These documents provide general information only on the subject matter covered. It is not intended, nor should it be relied on, as a substitute for legal or other professional advice. If required, it is recommended that the reader obtain independent legal advice. The information contained in these documents may be amended from time to time.

Revised November 2014.
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