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What happens when a complaint is made against me?

The Commission helps people resolve complaints of discrimination, sexual harassment, vilification, and victimisation. Our dispute resolution service is free, impartial, confidential, and timely. We use a process called conciliation to help both sides discuss what happened, understand the impact it had and find an outcome that they can agree on. 

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What happens when a complaint is made against me?

A person can make a complaint to the Commission if they think that they have experienced discrimination, sexual harassment, vilification, or victimisation under the Equal Opportunity Act and the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act.

When a complaint is made against you, a conciliator will contact you to tell you about the complaint and explain how can we help you and the complainant (the person who made the complaint) potentially resolve the matter in a timely, fair, cost-effective way.

Why has a complaint been made against me?

A complaint may be made against you if someone has had an experience with you or one of your employees, your associated contractors, subsidiaries, or affiliated companies, that made them feel that they experienced:

How can the Commission help?

The Commission offers a dispute resolution service that brings together both participants (parties) to resolve a complaint as quickly as possible.

The Commission’s dispute resolution service is a voluntary and confidential process whereby an impartial staff member called a conciliator, coordinates a discussion between the participants. Conciliators explain the law and assist the participants to explore options for resolution with the aim of resolving the complaint.

The conciliator handling the complaint will contact you to discuss the details of the complaint, seek your view and explore options for resolution.

What outcomes are available?

People making complaints seek many different outcomes, such as:

  • an apology from you
  • financial compensation
  • being given their job back, a statement of service or a reference
  • access to a job opportunity or a service that they have been denied
  • A promise/commitment to change or stop behaviour
  • new or updated equal opportunity policies
  • equal opportunity training for you and/or your staff so they know the behaviour shouldn’t be repeated.

The Commission doesn’t have the power to make orders or award compensation. We work with both participants to find an outcome that you can both agree to.

How do I get the outcome I’m hoping for?

After speaking to the complainant (the person who made the complaint), the conciliator will contact you to talk to you about the complaint and see if you are willing to engage in dispute resolution to try to resolve it.

If you agree, we will aim to assist in resolving the complaint through a process called ‘conciliation’, where the conciliator will work with you and the complainant to explore ways to resolve the complaint.

At conciliation, you will have the opportunity to tell your perspective and think about the outcome the complainant may be seeking. You will have an opportunity to offer your preferred outcome and the conciliator will work with you both to reach an agreement.

What happens at conciliation?

Conciliation can be done in person (subject to government restrictions) at our office in Carlton or across regional Victoria. It can also be done by phone, by email or by video conferencing. Sometimes there doesn’t need to be a face-to-face meeting between you and the complainant. In these cases, the conciliator can act as a messenger, shuttling information back and forth between you and complainant.

The conciliator will be impartial, which means they will not take anyone’s side. Their job is to lead a discussion to help you and the complainant understand the law and reach a resolution.

The complainant will have an opportunity to talk about what happened, the impact it had on them and how they want to resolve it.

You will have an opportunity to tell your perspective and think about the outcome the complainant may be seeking. You can offer an alternative outcome if you wish.

Does conciliation work?

Conciliation is often a successful way of resolving complaints as it is a flexible and an inexpensive way of resolving complaints compared to a court or tribunal.

People who have resolved a complaint through our conciliation process say it’s fair and easy to understand. It also educates participants about their rights and responsibilities. Our conciliation process means good resolutions can be reached without the need for courts or tribunals.

If a complaint is not resolved or if you decide not to participate in dispute resolution, the complainant may choose to take their complaint to VCAT.

How we work with reported parties of change or suppression practices

Reporting and responding to change or suppression (conversion) practices

Practices that aim to change or suppress someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity are unlawful. Reports about these practices can be made to the Commission and may lead to facilitation between those involved, targeted education or further investigation.

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Level 3, 204 Lygon Street Carlton Victoria 3053

General enquiries

1300 891 848

Enquiry line
1300 292 153 or (03) 9032 3583

1300 152 494

NRS Voice Relay
1300 555 727 then use 1300 292 153

Media enquiries
0447 526 642

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission acknowledge we work on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We also work remotely and serve communities on the lands of other Traditional Custodians.

We pay our respects to their Elders past and present.