What is Discrimination?

AccessAbility Services What is Discrimination?

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Legislation and Students with a Disability



Commonwealth and State legislation provides protection against discrimination on the grounds of disability. This protection includes both direct and indirect forms of discrimination.

Direct Discrimination

  • Treating people with a disability less favourably than people without a disability under the same circumstances

Indirect Discrimination

  • A policy, practice or requirement is applied equally but has a discriminatory outcome for those with a disability

  • The policy, practice or requirement may appear fair and neutral but the effect is that the person with a disability is unable to meet the requirement compared with someone without a disability

Third Party and Carers Discrimination

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) also protects people who have some form of personal connection with a person with a disability like relatives, friends, carers and co-workers if they are discriminated against because of that connection or relationship.

For example, it is unlawful discrimination if:

  • A parent is refused a job because the employer assumes he or she will need time off work to look after a child with a disability

  • People are refused access to a restaurant because they are with a friend who has a disability

  • A lecturer refuses a student’s request for an extension on an assignment as their child who has a disability is unwell and in hospital



Discrimination in Educational Institutions

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) and the Disability Discrimination Act - Educational Standards 2005 protects students studying in any educational institution against discrimination.

The DDA makes it unlawful for an educational authority to:

  • Discriminate against a person on the grounds of a person's disability or a disability of any of the person's associates by:

  • Refusing or failing to accept a person's application for admission as a student or

  • in the terms or conditions on which it is prepared to admit the person as a student (Section 22.1)

It is unlawful for an educational authority to discriminate against a student on the ground of the student's disability or a disability of any of the student's associates:

  • by denying the student access, or limiting the student's access, to any benefit provided by the educational authority; or

  • by expelling the student; or

  • by subjecting the student to any other detriment (Section 22.2)

The DDA–Educational Standards 2005 states:

It is also unlawful for any person in an educational institution to:

  • harass a student on the basis of disability

  • victimise (threaten or treat unfavourably) a student with a disability who has lodged a complaint under anti-discrimination legislation

  • discriminate on the basis of a person's association with a student with a disability




<Legislation / Implications for JCU>