Office of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, Tasmania
What is age discrimination?
Age discrimination occurs when a person is treated unfairly (less favourably than
another person) or is denied the same opportunities as another person because of their
age or imputed age (how old another person thinks they are).
Age discrimination occurs across all age groups and often arises because of
stereotypes and assumptions made about a person’s needs and abilities based on how
old or young they are.
Where is it unlawful to discriminate?
The Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 (Tas) (the Act) prohibits age discrimination in the
following areas of activity:
Employment including, but not limited to:
a) paid or voluntary work;
b) membership of partnerships;
c) registration or recognition by, or membership of, professional and trade
d) registration or recognition by qualifying bodies;
e) engagement of commission agents;
f) registration or placement by employment agencies;
g) engagement under a contract for services; and
h) registration or enrolment by vocational training bodies.
Education and Training at schools, colleges, universities or other educational
institutions where education and training is provided.
Provision of facilities, goods and services including:
a) access to, and the use of, any place that members of the public are permitted to
b) banking, insurance, superannuation or the provision of grants, loans, credit or
c) entertainment, refreshment or recreation;
d) transportation and travel;
e) professional, trade or business services; or
f) those provided by a State authority or a council; or
g) selling, buying, leasing, assigning or disposing of an interest in land.
Accommodation applies to residential (including house, flat, hotel, motel, boarding
house or caravan) and business accommodation.
Membership and activities of clubs being a member of a club and participating in
activities associated with the club.
Direct age discrimination
Direct age discrimination takes place if a person or organisation treats another person
unfairly (less favourably) on the basis of their age or imputed age.
For direct discrimination to take place it is not necessary:
for age to be the sole or dominant ground for the unfavourable treatment; or
for the person who discriminates to regard the treatment as unfavourable; or
for the person who discriminates to have any particular motive for their actions.
Example of direct age discrimination
At a recent job interview Sally, 45, felt that comments made about her age and ability
to relate to younger workers were not appropriate. She didn’t get the job, so she made
a complaint of age discrimination in employment.
Indirect age discrimination
Indirect age discrimination takes place if a person or organisation imposes a
condition, requirement or practice, that is unreasonable in the circumstances and has
the effect of disadvantaging people of a particular age or age group when compared to
a person who is not that age or of that age group.
Example of indirect age discrimination
An employer requires all employees to pass a demanding physical test before being
recruited to a particular position. This requirement may unlawfully indirectly
discriminate against older employees if the physical test is harder for a person because
of their age and does not reflect the actual requirements of the position.
When is it lawful to discriminate?
In certain circumstances, age discrimination is permitted:
Sporting activities for particular age groups.
Clubs for particular age groups.
Superannuation for persons of particular age groups.
Employment based on age:
a. if being a particular age is a genuine occupational qualification or requirement
of the position; or
b. approved wage rates based on age.
Insurance and financial services for particular age groups.
Retirement on the basis of age.
Benefits and concessions on the basis of age.
Education for people in a particular age group.
Children being required to be accompanied by an adult where there is a reasonable
risk that the child may cause a disruption or endanger himself or herself or any
other person if not with an adult.
When a person or organisation argues that an exception applies, it is up to the person
or organisation to prove this.
Example of lawful discrimination
Sports events requiring that competitors compete in their age group (for example,
under-17s, under-19s, under-21s) is an example of lawful age discrimination.
Education and Training
The Office of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner provides training and education
on discrimination and prohibited conduct under the Act.
Free community education sessions are available for not-for-profit organisations,
schools and community groups.
Corporate training can be tailored to suit any organisation to meet the needs of its
employees including managers and supervisors to create a discrimination-free and
harassment-free workplace environment.
For more information on training see the Education and Training brochure or contact
our training staff to discuss your training and education needs.
To make a complaint or get further information, contact the office or visit the website.
Please note the office cannot give legal advice.
Office of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner
Level 1, 54 Victoria Street, Hobart, Tasmania 7000
GPO Box 197, Hobart, Tasmania 7001
Telephone 1300 305 062 (local call)
(03) 6233 4841
Facsimile (03) 6233 5333
Web SMS 0409 401 083
National Relay Service
TTY users: Phone 133 677 then ask for 1300 305 062
Speak & listen users: Phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 1300 305 062
Please advise the office before an appointment if you need particular assistance or the
services of an interpreter.
Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide a general understanding of the
Anti-Discrimination Act 1998. To maintain confidentiality, case examples are not
based on actual complaints lodged with this office.
Updated: August 2011