Disability discrimination

Adjustments made for person with dyslexia

The complainant alleged discrimination on the basis of disability in connection with the provision of services. The complainant has dyslexia and allegedly requested that the service provider send letters by email so the complainant could use screen-reading technology to read them, but the service provider continued to send letters by post. The service provider in its response said it had no record of the complainant asking for letters to be sent by email. The complaint was resolved at conciliation by the service provider agreeing to send letters to the complainant by email.

Complaint of disability discrimination in accommodation sorted out through conciliation

The complainant rented a social housing home that was increasingly unsuitable for their needs because of their disability. The house had steps and no ramps. The complaint was made because the request to have ramps installed had been denied. In its response, the housing provider said the house was old and the cost to make it suitable for the complainant, including providing ramps and increasing the width of doorways etc, was prohibitive. At conciliation, the housing provider provided two possible solutions. The first was for the complainant and their occupational therapist to look at an existing house to see if it was suitable for their needs. The second was for the complainant to be offered a home in a new housing development under construction that could be designed to meet all their needs. The conciliation was adjourned to allow the complainant to consider these two possible solutions. The complainant, after inspecting the existing house with their occupational therapist, found that it would not suit their needs. The complainant accepted the offer to have a home in the new housing development designed to meet all their needs.

Complaint achieves improved access for people with disability

The complainant, who uses a wheelchair, alleged disability discrimination in the provision of facilities, goods and services after attending a caryard that had no car parking spaces for people with disability and where there was a step to the front door of the building. In the response to the complaint, the caryard apologised to the complainant, and offered to mark an accessible car parking space. The caryard said there was an alternative ramp access to the building, which was due to be upgraded. The caryard also offered to improve signage to the ramp access. The complaint was resolved by negotiation without going to a conciliation conference. The complainant accepted the offers made by the caryard, and also requested that the caryard provide training for its staff on disability discrimination, which the caryard agreed to do.

Conciliation leads to better access

The complainant alleged that a proposed new development would not have an accessible car parking space.  Following a conciliation conference, the service provider agreed to install a disability car parking space. There was also a mutual non-disparagement clause between the complainant and individual respondents.

Discrimination on the basis of mental illness resolves at conciliation

The complainant alleged discrimination on the basis of disability and irrelevant medical record, conduct that is humiliating, intimidating, insulting, ridiculing or offensive on the basis of disability and victimisation.

The complainant alleged that the employer doubted their capacity to work in their profession because of a mental health issue and because they took some personal leave. The complainant resigned. The complaint resolved at conciliation with the payment of $20,000 and a statement of service.

Disability discrimination in employment

The complaint took leave from work to undergo scheduled surgery. The complainant alleged that despite being given clearance to return to work, aside from one restriction for a period of time their employer prevented them from returning to work and did not provide reasonable accommodation to enable a return to work.

The complaint was resolved at early conciliation with the respondent acknowledging the complainant’s frustration during the return to work process and agreeing to review its return to work process. The respondent also agreed to ensure a fair and equitable rostering practice.

Complaint results in local Council developing disability access plan

The complainant had lodged a complaint of disability discrimination against a local Council. The complainant used a wheelchair and had alleged the local Council did not provide accessible parking spaces at a Council site.

The complaint resolved at a conciliation conference conducted by Equal Opportunity Tasmania. At the conference the complainant and the respondent discussed the parking issue and also discussed wider issues of concern for people with disability in the local area.

As well as agreeing to resolve the parking issue, the Council also wanted to develop a disability access plan, in consultation with the complainant and local community groups. The disability access plan will identify areas for improvement, and set out actions to make those improvements, to make the local community more accessible and inclusive for people with disability.

Employer refused to allow worker who had been off work due to illness to return to work part time

Equal Opportunity Tasmania received a complaint from a worker who had been off work due to illness. The worker’s doctor had said the worker would need to do a gradual return to work, initially working part-time and building up to full-time hours. The employer refused this and alleged the work required one person working full-time in the role.

The complaint resolved at a conciliation conference conducted by Equal Opportunity Tasmania. The complaint resolved by (among other things) the employer agreeing to pay the worker $20,000 compensation.

Disability discrimination in the provision of services complaint

The complainant who uses crutches to walk booked a cruise through her travel agent in response to reading a flyer from the cruise company.

The complainant alleged disability discrimination after they were charged more for the accessible cabins located on the outside of the cruise ship.

At conciliation the parties agreed to resolve the complaint by reimbursement of the extra cost and for the cruise company to include information in its flyer about the limitations of it vessel for people with limited mobility.

Conciliation provides avenue for parties to repair ongoing professional relationship

The complainant is profoundly deaf. In the complaint, it was alleged that the respondent, although being aware of the complainant’s need for an interpreter, refused to provide one to assist them to complete a course.

The Commissioner accepted the complaint on the basis the allegations disclosed possible indirect discrimination.

Indirect discrimination occurs when:

  • There is a condition, requirement or practice.
  • The condition, requirement or practice is unreasonable in all the circumstances.
  • The condition requirement or practice has the effect of disadvantaging the complainant.
  • The complainant is disadvantaged as a member of a group of people who are, or are believed to share, a prescribed attribute, more than a person who is not a member of that group.

An early conciliation conference was held and the parties came to an agreement to resolve the complaint. The parties were then able to move forward with an ongoing professional relationship.

Complainant and respondent work together to sort complaint out

The complainant alleged discrimination on the basis of disability, in connection with accommodation.

The complainant had a lease agreement with the respondent.

The complaint was accepted for investigation on the ground that the respondent sent a letter to the complainant which said that the complainant’s lease was unable to be renewed because of their health condition.

The complaint was resolved at an early conciliation conference where the parties had an in-depth discussion about the issues in the complaint and how to move forward.

The parties came to an agreement to resolve the complaint, which included the continuation of the complainant’s lease.