Disability Discrimination Act 1992

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) provides legal protection for everyone in Australia against discrimination based on disability.

Disability discrimination occurs when people with disability are treated less favourably than people without disability. It also occurs when people are treated less fairly because they are relatives, friends, carers, co-workers or associates of a person with disability. Disability discrimination can be direct or indirect.

Under the DDA, the definition of the term “disability” is very broad. This means that people you might not regard as having disability, and people who may not even think of themselves as having a disability, are included.

The Disability Discrimination Act’s definition of disability includes:

  • Physical disability
  • Intellectual disability
  • Psychiatric disability
  • Sensory disability
  • Neurological disability
  • Learning disability
  • Physical disfigurement
  • The presence in the body of disease-causing organisms.

While some people are born with disability, many people acquire disability throughout their lives. Disability can be visible or non-visible.

The DDA protects against discrimination of disability that a person:

  • Has now
  • Has had in the past (for example: a past episode of mental illness)
  • May have in the future (e.g. a family history of disability which a person may also develop)
  • Is believed to have.

The DDA also protects people who may be discriminated against because they:

  • Are accompanied by an assistant, interpreter or reader
  • Are accompanied by a trained assistance animal, such as a guide or hearing dog or
  • Use equipment or an aid, such as a wheelchair or a hearing aid.

 The DDA makes it unlawful to discriminate against people with disability in the following areas:

  • Employment
  • Education
  • Access to premises used by the public
  • Provision of goods, services and facilities
  • Accommodation
  • Buying land
  • Activities of clubs and associations
  • Sport
  • Administration of Commonwealth Government laws and programs.

In regards to employment, the DDA prohibits discrimination against people with disability throughout all stages of the employment process, including:

  • Recruitment processes such as advertising, interviewing, and other selection processes
  • Decisions on who will get the job
  • Terms and conditions of employment such as pay rates, work hours, job design and leave entitlements
  • Promotion, transfer, training or other benefits associated with employment or
  • Termination of employment, demotion or retrenchment.

The DDA is administered by the Australian Human Rights Commission. Individuals can lodge complaints of breaches of the DDA with the Commission in writing, by phone or online.

Visit the Australian Human Rights Commission for more information.