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The Commissioner has a number of functions, including enquiring into discrimination and prohibited conduct and investigating and seeking to conciliate claims (ss56769Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 (Tas)).

Who may lodge a discrimination complaint?

Section 60 of the Act lists who may lodge a claim. This includes a person who was the subject of the alleged discrimination or prohibited conduct; an agent; a member of a class of people against whom the alleged discrimination was directed; or a trade union. An exhaustive list is available at section 60 of the Act.

How to lodge a complaint

To lodge a complaint, a person is directed to contact the Office of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, either in writing, by email or by telephone in order to proceed to submitting a written complaint. A complaint form is available on the Office of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner’s website: www.antidiscrimination.tas.gov.au. The Commissioner can provide procedural advice and assistance to any person who requires assistance to make a complaint (s62(2)).

Time Limits

A claim is to be made within 12 months after the alleged discrimination or prohibited conduct took place. The Commissioner may accept a claim made after the 12-month time limitation has expired if satisfied that it is reasonable to do so (s63).

Procedure

The Commissioner decides whether to accept or reject a complaint within 42 days (s64(2)). Once the Commissioner has investigated a complaint, the matter can be either resolved with dispute resolution mechanisms, such as conciliation, or referred onto the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal.

Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Tribunal

The Anti-Discrimination Tribunal functions include review of decisions of the Commissioner and conducting inquiries into discrimination complaints.  An inquiry by the Tribunal is usually preceded by a conciliation meeting. An inquiry is like a hearing.  Participants may want to seek legal advice before getting to this stage. In an inquiry, the Tribunal will make decisions about the facts, apply the law to the facts, and make orders accordingly.  The Tribunal has heard a number of cases.

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