Renae Diggles

October 19, 2020

Age Discrimination in Australia: Your Rights

Renae Diggles

October 19, 2020

What is Age Discrimination?

With an increasingly ageing population, community attitudes towards older people need to be addressed. With many stereotypes existing towards older people, it is time for change to abolish such negative stereotypes. According to the Department of Human Rights, In Australia age discrimination is “when a person is treated less favourably than another person in a similar situation, because of their age.”

As they get older, many people feel that they’ve unfairly missed out on a job because of their age. Others feel like they’ve lost their job or been demoted because of their age. Some older Australians also feel that they’ve missed out on promotions, training, and other benefits due to their age. But this type of discrimination in the workplace is actually against the law.

mature man in suit with hands in pockets

Protection From Age Discrimination

There’s an Act in place called “The Age Discrimination Act.” Under this Act, it’s the law that you are unable to be unfairly treated due to your age. This applies to many areas of life when in public, including employment. This is whether you’re applying for a job, the terms and conditions of the job, specific job training, and termination of employment.

The Act also applies in the education setting. You’re able to attend a college or university as an older Australian, and get your senior certificate at certain educational facilities too. You have just as much right as a younger person to access education.

Age discrimination also occurs in the accommodation sector. There are laws to protect you if you’re experiencing age discrimination when renting or purchasing a home.

And when you use services the Aged Discrimination Act will protect you. It’s against the law to discriminate against people because of their age when accessing banking, government services and transport services. This also applies when accessing lawyers doctors, tradies and other professional services. And finally, these laws are there to protect you when you access entertainment, shops, and restaurants too.

What You Can do When You Experience Age Discrimination

Initially, you might try to resolve the matter by directly speaking with the people involved. Or you might bring the matter up with a supervisor, manager or workplace discrimination officer. Remember to keep everything written down to, so that you have a journal on what has actually happened to you. This will come in handy if you have to take matters higher. Be sure to include who, what and when the matter occurred as well.

If you’re unable to resolve the matter directly, you can make a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission. You can also speak with an advocate at the Older Person’s Advocacy Network (OPAN). Or if you’re a union member, you might like to speak with a union representative. You can also engage legal services to help you if all else fails.

Rest assured that it’s free of charge to make a complaint to the Human Rights Commission, and there are interpreter services available if you need to access them.

How to Prevent Age Discrimination

Awareness is the key when it comes to ensuring equal opportunities for all ages. The human rights commission works on building awareness of the age discrimination act amongst organisations and individuals, especially in the workplace. But it’s everyone’s responsibility to spread the word and treat people fairly, irrespective of their age. Ageing people have the right to work without discrimination. The Commission undertakes a wide range of activities to build awareness about the rights and responsibilities of individuals and organisations under the Age Discrimination Act, especially in the workplace.

You can find out more about what’s happening to reduce aged discrimination at the Department of Human Rights.  If you need to lodge a complaint, you can contact the information line on 1300 656 419. Let’s all work together to stamp out age discrimination and treat people of all ages fairly.

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