In Queensland, discrimination on a number of attributes (which can be actual or presumed) is unlawful, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • sex, including pregnancy or potential pregnancy
  • relationship status
  • race including colour, nationality, descent, ethnic or ethno-religious background
  • impairment – past, present or future
  • age
  • carers' responsibilities
  • sexuality, including homosexuality or transgender.

Direct discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably on the basis of a prohibited attribute or characteristic; indirect discrimination occurs when, notwithstanding that an act or requirement is non- discriminatory on its face, its practical effect is that a person who possesses a particular attribute is disadvantaged.

Unlawful discrimination is also prohibited under Federal discrimination laws, including the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 and the Age Discrimination Act 2004.

Crown Law provides representation and advice in cases involving discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation in both the State and Federal jurisdictions. Our lawyers assist clients at all stages of matters involving alleged discrimination including identifying that a breach of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 has occurred, whether it constitutes direct or indirect discrimination, whether any of the exemptions under the Act may apply to excuse the State (and its employees) from a finding of liability, whether conduct is capable of constituting sexual harassment and whether the State can be found to be vicariously liable for the actions of its employees. We advise clients across Queensland Government on reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace and how to deal with complaints.

  • Representing a Queensland Government department in its defence of a sex discrimination complaint where a male employee applied for paid maternity leave as he was to be the primary care-giver of his child when born.
  • Instructing counsel in the Court of Appeal with regard to a discrimination claim against a motel by a self-employed sex worker who claimed she was directly discriminated against under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 in relation to the supply of accommodation at the motel.
  • Advising an agency on whether it was an act of discrimination to refuse non-religious entities ‘right of entry’ to schools to teach non-religious belief systems.
  • Defending a discrimination claim before the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal against Queensland Corrective Services by a prisoner seeking transgender hormone therapy.
  • Defending a complaint of impairment discrimination by a person who claimed that she had been discriminated against because she had been excluded from performing jury duty because she was deaf. See Lyons v State of Queensland (No. 2) [2013] QCAT 731 and Lyons v State of Queensland [2014] QCATA 302.