If there are good reasons for treating people differently, the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) may grant you an exemption from the Equal Opportunity Act 1984.

You may be granted an exemption if your program or service aims to:

  • promote equality of opportunity between people
  • prevent certain kinds of discrimination
  • help people to participate in the economic and social life of the community.

Some services, projects and positions will already be exempt from the Equal Opportunity Act because they are considered special measures or they are covered by general exemptions in the Act.

Applying for an exemption

If you think you might need an exemption, first check to see if your program or service is already covered by an existing exemption in the Equal Opportunity Act.

You might need to seek legal advice to see if it is necessary to apply to SACAT for an exemption.

SACAT can grant exemptions for up to three years.

Preparing an application

If you need to apply for an exemption, your application to SACAT should include:

  • why you are seeking an exemption
  • how your program or service will help provide equal opportunity
  • details about your organisation for example your service and customers
  • the section/s of the Equal Opportunity Act from which you are seeking to be exempt
  • how long the exemption is required
  • what will happen if the exemption is not granted (for example, evidence that you will lose customers if you cannot employ a person of a particular age, race or sex)
  • any effects on your business if the exemption is granted (for example, could some of your customers or staff react badly? How would you deal with this?)

Lodging your application

Applications for an exemption must be lodged with SACAT.

Visit the SACAT website for details on this process.

What happens next

SACAT notifies the Commissioner for Equal Opportunity that an application has been made.

If the application has a wider public interest, the Commissioner may support or oppose the application.

SACAT is required to give notice of applications to the general public.

Anyonce can then make a written submission to SACAT in relation to the application - see the Equal Opportunity public notices for more.

SACAT then conducts a public hearing to determine whether it is necessary and appropriate for an exemption to be granted.