Abeeku describes being discriminated against because of his race when booking gigs with his band. We explain how the Equal Opportunity Act relates to his situation, and how the Commission can help people who have a similar experience.
"The new owner said that our gigs attracted too many people from the African community and that he was worried about how their other patrons felt. I asked him if he was kidding. He said he wasn’t."
“I play drums in a band, and we have gigs at a few venues around town. Usually we attract a decent crowd, and the venues we play at are very supportive. Recently, one of our regular venues changed hands, and the new owners said they wouldn’t be booking us anymore. I asked why, and the new owner said that our gigs attracted too many people from the African community and that he was worried about how their other patrons felt. I asked him if he was kidding. He said he wasn’t.
A friend had made a complaint to the Commission before, so I got in touch to find out if there was any way this kind of racial discrimination was allowed.
The Commission accepted my complaint and followed up with the venue owner. He apologised and agreed to make sure all his staff understood that they couldn’t discriminate like that.”
The incidents portrayed in this story are inspired by real complaints received by the Commission, but all names and other identifying details have been changed.
How does the law apply to Abeeku’s situation?
In Victoria, it’s against the law for you to be discriminated against, harassed or bullied because of your race.
Under the Equal Opportunity Act, race includes colour, descent or ancestry, nationality or ethnic background, or any characteristics people might associate with a particular race. The Act applies to many different parts of public life, including accommodation, provision of goods and services, and employment.
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.
"The owner could be quite racist – sometimes I’d hear him talk about customers and be pretty disgusted. He wasn’t particularly friendly to me, but I just got on with the job."
Click here to read Nina's story