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Kate and her friends are denied entry to a local hotel

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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. The photo above is a stock photo, posed by a model.

‘My friends and I were having a laugh as we got to the front door. The security guard glared at us and said there was no way we were coming in tonight as Aboriginal people had a fight here last week.’

Kate is Aboriginal and went to the local hotel to have a meal and drinks on Saturday night with friends.

They were denied entry to the hotel by security on the front door as ‘Aboriginal people had a fight here last week’.

How does the law apply to Kate’s situation?

Under Victoria’s Equal Opportunity Act, it is against the law to discriminate against someone because of their race.

Providers of goods and services, including restaurants, must not discriminate on the basis of race and have a positive duty to take reasonable steps to eliminate discrimination as far as possible.

Kate could make a complaint of race discrimination against the hotel.

What outcomes are available?

If Kate decides to make a complaint to the Commission, she could ask for outcomes that are important to her and her community. These could include:

  • telling her story and being heard
  • an acknowledgement of her experience
  • an apology made to her or within the community
  • a promise to change or stop the behaviour
  • financial compensation
  • cultural awareness training for hotel staff and security
  • new or updated equal opportunity policies for the hotel
  • the hotel talking publicly (e.g., on social media) about their commitment to ensuring they are free from discrimination.

Are you in a similar situation?

You can start by contacting us with your enquiry or complaint – we will then take you through your rights and options.

We can listen to your story and provide you with information about your rights under our laws.

We have staff specifically trained to support First Nations peoples make enquiries and complaints.

When you contact us, we will ask if you identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander so that we can provide you with an inclusive and culturally appropriate service.

You can also choose to speak directly to a First Nations staff member if one is available.

This is our tailored approach for First Nations peoples.

You can contact us by


Call 1300 292 153 – weekdays from 10am–2pm.


Send us an email at with your issue and whether you would like to speak with a First Nations staff member.

Online complaint form

Send us your complaint through our online complaint form.


Send us a letter to our address: Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, Level 3, 204 Lygon Street, Carlton, Victoria 3053

Read more about

Our services for First Nations people

If you (or someone you know) have experienced discrimination, harassment or racial vilification, you have the right to speak up and be heard.

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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 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.