Have you suffered unlawful discrimination?

SMB Workplace & Employment Law are passionate advocates for fair treatment for all and discrimination law is one of the only areas of the law where we don’t limit ourselves to conduct occurring in the workplace. 

Discrimination claims are often more technical and complicated that people who have suffered discrimination think they should be, and legislation differs between state and federal jurisdictions, but the most common grounds of unlawful discrimination are:

  • disability
  • age
  • race
  • gender or gender identity
  • sexuality
  • carer’s responsibilities
  • political belief.

Sex discrimination legislation also usually protects you from sexual harassment. 

Unlawful discrimination can include direct discrimination because you have a protected attribute and indirect discrimination, where an unreasonable condition or requirement is imposed which disadvantages you because you have a protected attribute.

Generally, a respondent is only required to do what is considered reasonable to ensure you are not disadvantaged because of your protected attributes. This means it is often necessary to consider the defences which are likely to be raised in response to a claim before lodging a complaint or commencing legal proceedings.

The choices you make early on can have a significant impact on the end result. For example, the costs provisions between state-based and federally-based complaints are different. Choosing the wrong jurisdiction could be the difference between recovering your legal costs on top of any compensation awarded to you at the end of your matter or not – or even you being ordered to pay the respondent’s costs if your claim is unsuccessful.   

There are time limits apply for making a discrimination complaint, and they vary amongst jurisdictions. The time limit for a discrimination claim brought pursuant to the provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) can be as short as 21 days, but other options allow as long as 24 months. Even so, preparation of a claim ahead of the time limit for filing a formal complaint is often critical.

At SMB Workplace & Employment Law, we can assist you to work through all of these considerations to set you up for the best chance of success.


Simon Bourne recognised by Doyles as a Leading National Employment Lawyer in 2023.
Leading Employment Law Firm (Employee & Union Representation) – South Australia, 2024.

Epworth Building
Suite 315, 33 Pirie Street

ph: (08) 8410 9699
e: office@smbemploymentlaw.com.au