Refer to the following worksheets:
The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) provides protection against discrimination based on disability in the areas of employment, education, living arrangements, obtaining or using services. The legislation also protects carers, relatives, friends and people who associate with people with disabilities. Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 an educator must offer a person with a disability the same educational opportunities as a person without a disability in the following areas:
- refusal or failure to accept an application for admission from a person with a disability
- accepting a person with a disability as a student on less favourable terms or conditions than others
- denying or limiting access to people with a disability
- expelling a person because of a disability
- subjecting a person with a disability to any other detriment
- making humiliating comments or actions about a persons disability
The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 requires an education provider to make reasonable adjustments (changes or alterations) to assist a student achieve equal opportunity. These adjustments must allow a student to enrol and participate in education programs on the same basis as students who do not have a disability and without experiencing discrimination.
Reasonable adjustments might include changes to the way a person enrols in a course, alterations to the physical environment and other facilities available at the education venue. They may also include the introduction and use of alternate methods in the way training is delivered and skills are assessed.
Examples of reasonable adjustments include note takers, Auslan interpreters, curriculum adaptation.
Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 it is unlawful for any staff member at an educational institution to harass a student on the basis of their disability, threaten or treat unfavourably (victimise) a student who has lodged a complaint under anti discrimination legislation or to discriminate against a person or persons because of their association with a student with a disability. The definition of disability under the Act is intentionally broad and includes physical, intellectual, psychiatric, sensory, neurological and learning disabilities. The Act also covers physical disfigurement and the presence in the human body of organisms that are capable of causing disease.
Refer to the definition of disability
for further information.
If a person believes that they have been discriminated against because of their disability they can lodge a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC). Complaints to AHRC must be in writing and provide sufficient detail of the circumstances. There is no charge for making a complaint to AHRC. Once the commission has received a formal complaint they will decide if the complaint falls under the Act and will contact the parties involved. The first step taken by the Commission is to conciliate a complaint and to bring about a mutually agreeable outcome. If this process is not successful the commission can make an order under the legislation.
See AHRC for further information.
Unjustifiable hardship is an exception under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and is up to the education provider to prove. To determine whether a reasonable adjustment would cause unjustifiable hardship to an education provider the Australia Human Rights Commission (AHRC) must weigh up a number of factors including the effect or likely effect of the adjustment on the student and staff at the education provider. This includes any benefits or disadvantages and the costs involved.
Further information on unjustifiable hardship from AHRC
Commonwealth Funded Education and Training CoursesBack to Top
It is unlawful for a Commonwealth funded education or training program to discriminate against a person on the basis of disability. The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 prohibits discrimination in the administration of Commonwealth laws and programs without exceptions. Under the legislation it is also unlawful for educational authorities to refuse to admit a person to a course or program on the basis that their disability will prevent them from being able to work in that profession or trade. Only a qualifying professional or vocational body can refuse qualify a person on the basis of their disability if it prevents them from carrying out the inherent requirements of a particular trade or profession.