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Graeme’s story

Graeme talks about how he was discriminated against by a taxi driver because he has a guide dog. We explain how the Equal Opportunity Act relates to his situation, and how the Commission can help people who have a similar experience.

A blind man sits whilst his dog licks his face

Photo by Rebecca Peterson-Hall on Unsplash

"A taxi driver refused to let my assistance dog in his car ... he said he didn’t have to do that, that it was his car, and that dogs bring too much dirt into it."

“I have a guide dog and generally people don’t give us any trouble – we just go wherever we need to go. One time, though, a taxi driver refused to let him in his car. I’m registered with the taxi company as having an assistance dog, so I told him to check with head office. He wouldn’t listen – he said he didn’t have to do that, that it was his car, and that dogs bring too much dirt into it. I couldn’t believe his response, but I was on my way to a meeting at work and didn’t have time to argue. In the end, I couldn’t persuade him, and he got in his car and left.

Later that day, I called the company to tell them what had happened, and the woman was very dismissive of my complaint. I thought they’d have a better understanding of discrimination laws.

The Commission took the complaint seriously and followed up with the cab company. The company apologised for what I’d experienced and said they’d been providing discrimination training to all new drivers. They gave me a direct number to call if I had any other issues.”

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 Graeme’s situation?

In Victoria, it’s against the law for you to be discriminated against or bullied because of a disability. Under the law, a disability doesn’t have to be permanent – it can be a temporary condition such as an injury.

The Equal Opportunity 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 us.

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 we help people resolve complaints.

We can also give you information about your rights.

More information

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The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission acknowledges that 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.