In Queensland, you are entitled to be treated fairly and not judged by your sex, race, age or religion, whether you have an impairment or hold certain political beliefs. The law that prohibits discrimination, sexual harassment, vilification and victimisation is the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld).

In addition, the Industrial Relations Act 2016 (Qld) (the Act) provides for a general protection from workplace discrimination and gives the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) exclusive jurisdiction to hear work-related matters under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 after they have been investigated and referred to QIRC by the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland (ADCQ).

The QIRC is also responsible for granting an exemption to allow a person or business to do something work-related that is otherwise unlawful under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 and providing opinions on work-related anti-discrimination matters to the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner.

Where can I get information about the law and making a complaint?

ADCQ has responsibilities under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 to promote the understanding, acceptance and public discussion of human rights in Queensland.

ADCQ provide the following services:

  • a free state wide telephone enquiry service
  • information in print, online and other formats
  • training about discrimination and human rights
  • a free and impartial complaint resolution service.

When does the QIRC hear anti-discrimination matters?

Complaints are lodged with ADCQ who assess if the conduct described maybe unlawful. If so, ADCQ arrange a meeting with the complainant and the respondent. If the parties cannot agree, a work-related complaint is referred to the QIRC and a non-work related complaint is referred to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).

What is a work-related matter?

A work-related matter is a complaint or other matter relating to, or including, work or the work-related area. Work includes, for example, pre-work, work under a contract for services, commission work, work experience, voluntary work and work in an employment relationship.

Can I have legal representation in QIRC?

The Act maintains the QIRC as a lay jurisdiction, however, for discrimination matters parties may be legally represented if all parties agree or if the QIRC grants leave to be represented.

Further information about legal representation can be found on the QIRC website.

Further information

For specific information, contact your employer’s Human Resources or Industrial Relations area or your union.

Queensland Industrial Relations Framework

A comprehensive review of Queensland’s industrial relations laws resulted in the government adopting all 68 of the review’s recommendations which will promote a fair and balanced industrial relations framework. A significant majority of the recommendations will be given effect though the Industrial Relations Act 2016 (the Act). The Act received assent on 9 December 2016 following its successful passage through the Queensland Parliament on 30 November 2016. Most provisions of the Act commenced on 1 March 2017.

The Act provides a framework for the conduct of industrial relations within the State’s industrial relations jurisdiction that is fair and balanced and supports the delivery of high-quality services, economic prosperity and social justice for Queenslanders. The defining features of the State industrial relations system are:

  1. a set of minimum employment conditions and standards
  2. collective bargaining as a cornerstone for setting wages and conditions including good faith bargaining and other consultation
  3. requirements to promote consultation between employers and employees
  4. a set of individual rights to fair treatment
  5. effective, transparent and accountable governance and reporting obligations for all registered industrial organisations and employer associations
  6. the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) as a strong and effective independent umpire.

The Act covers employers and employees to whom the federal Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) does not apply. Generally this means employers and employees of the Queensland government and local governments are covered by the Queensland Act.

Last updated 01 August 2018