Everyone should be able to feel safe and be treated with dignity when using transport services, including taxis, airlines and public transport. Transport companies and operators of public transport have a legal responsibility to make sure that everyone who uses their services is treated fairly and with respect.
How does the law protect me?
Under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010, providers of goods and services have a positive duty to eliminate discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation as far as possible.
Services run by or for the Victorian Government have additional responsibilities under the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities and more information is available under the For public sector part of our website.
The law protects you from discrimination
It is against the law for someone to treat you unfairly when you are using a transport service because of a personal characteristic that is protected by law, such as your:
- sexual orientation.
When using a transport service, discrimination could include:
- a taxi not stopping for you because you have an assistance animal or because of your race
- airline staff making rude comments about your race
- a train driver refusing to help you off at your stop.
Find out more about discrimination.
The law protects you from sexual harassment
Sexual harassment is also against the law, whether it is committed by drivers, pilots or other staff members. It is against the law for passengers to sexually harass drivers, pilots or staff members.
Find out more about sexual harassment.
It is also against the law to victimise a person, which means treat them badly or unfairly, because they have made a complaint about discrimination, sexual harassment or vilification, or have helped someone else to make a complaint.
You can make a complaint
Get help from the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.
You can make a complaint to us if you think you have experienced:
If you wish, someone else can make a complaint for you. Find out how the Commission helps people resolve complaints.
We can also give you information about your rights.
Disability access to public transport
Under the Equal Opportunity Act goods and services providers are required to make changes, known as reasonable adjustments, to allow people with disability to access goods and services on the same basis as others. This includes providers of public transport.
There are also federal Transport Standards that must be followed.
Are there any exceptions to the law?
There are some exceptions in the Equal Opportunity Act that mean it’s not against the law to discriminate in particular circumstances. For example, discrimination is not against the law if there is a real risk to someone’s health, safety or property.
Find out more about exceptions.
My human rights under the Charter
Every Victorian has the right to equal and effective protection against discrimination, and to enjoy their human rights without discrimination.
Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities contains 20 basic rights that promote and protect the values of freedom, respect, equality, and dignity.
The Victorian Government, local councils and other public authorities must always consider Charter rights, including the right to equality, when they create laws, develop policies and deliver their services.
Find out more about your human rights under the Charter and what to do if you think they have been breached.