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Anti-Discrimination and bullying
The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (the Commission) hears work-related complaints of alleged unlawful discrimination after they have been investigated and referred to the Commission by the Queensland Human Rights Commission (QHRC).
The Commission also determines applications for a work-related exemption (for example undertaking a recruitment process for women or men only). See the link below for more information regarding exemptions.
For a more detailed guide on anti-discrimination matters, download a copy of the Anti-Discrimination Guide.
Anti-Discrimination (work-related) matters
A work-related matter includes complaints that allege discrimination, sexual harassment, or other contraventions of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 that happened at work. This includes:
- discrimination at work
- discrimination when applying for work
- victimisation by an employer
- requesting and encouraging discrimination at work
- requesting unnecessary information at work or when applying for work
- sexual harassment at work
- vilification that occurred at work or when applying for work.
If you feel you have been discriminated against at work, you should make an application to the Queensland Human Rights Commission. If the matter is not able to be settled at the Queensland Human Rights Commission, then it may be referred to the Commission for determination, meaning that a decision may be made.
The person who files the original complaint in the QHRC is referred to as the Complainant. The party who resists the complaint is the Respondent. There may be more than one Respondent to a complaint.
See information below regarding the referral process.
At any time before a complaint is referred to the Commission by the QHRC, you may apply to the Commission for an order prohibiting a person from doing an act that might prejudice:
- the investigation or conciliation of the complaint; or
- an order that the tribunal might make after a hearing.
You will need to complete Form 84 - Application for an order protecting complainant's interests.
An application may be made under s169(3) of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 to review an Queensland Human Rights Commission decision. This must be made within 28 days of being notified that the Queensland Human Rights Commissioner has lapsed the matter.
To make an application in relation to a complaint lapsing complete Form 86 - Application for review of Commissioner's decision. A copy of the decision being reviewed must be provided with the application.
Most complaints to the QHRC, if accepted, are referred to a conciliation conference to try and resolve the complaint. If a conciliation conference has been held at QHRC and the complaint remains unresolved, the Complainant may give the Queensland Human Rights Commissioner a written notice (within 28 days of the conference) requiring the QHRC to refer the complaint to the Commission.
Further, if the QHRC has not finished dealing with a complaint six months after a complaint was accepted, either party may request the complaint be referred to the Commission.
Refer to the Queensland Human Rights Commission website for further information.
In some instances, a Complainant may wish to seek a 'stay' on an administrative decision made by a Respondent while the complaint process is in progress. This means that an administrative decision may be postponed and cannot take affect before the Commission has determined the application to review the decision.
If you wish to seek a stay of a decision made by the Respondent/s, you need to use a Form 2 - General Application to Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.
An employee is bullied in the workplace if an individual, or a group of individuals, behaves unreasonably towards them (or a group of employees of which they are a member), and the behaviour creates a risk to the health and safety of that employee.
An employee who believes they have been bullied in the workplace may apply to the Commission for an order to 'stop bullying'.
The Commission may make an order to stop bullying if the Commission believes that the employee has been bullied and there is a risk that they will continue to be bullied in the workplace.
Chapter 7 of the Industrial Relations Act 2016 governs bullying in the workplace.
Last updated 25 August 2021