Discrimination is against the law in South Australia when it is based on a particular personal characteristic or grounds specified in the Equal Opportunity Act and happens in an area of public life.

Discrimination is unlawful in these areas of public life.


Equal opportunity law applies to full time, part time, casual, contract and voluntary work.

It covers all stages of employment - from job advertisements, applications and offers of employment to promotions, training, transfers and dismissal.

Workplace discrimination factsheet (PDF, 812.0 KB)

Customer service

Equal opportunity law applies to withholding goods and services from people or giving them different terms or conditions. It covers:

  • shops and restaurants
  • access to and use of public places
  • transport or travel
  • any profession or trade
  • councils and government departments
  • banks, credit and insurance providers
  • employment agencies
  • scholarships, prizes and awards
  • entertainment and recreation
  • introduction agencies
  • sport, including coaching and umpiring.

It is unlawful to treat people unfavourably in customer service because they have a child with them or because they are breast or bottle-feeding a child.

Accommodation and selling land

Equal opportunity law applies to renting flats, rooms or houses and staying in hotels, motels or caravan parks. It covers applications for accommodation, sale terms and conditions and waiting lists.

Equal opportunity law also applies to refusing to sell land to people or offering less favourable conditions.

Education and gaining qualifications

Equal opportunity law applies to schools, and education and training institutions.

It covers entry to courses, access to facilities and benefits, and expulsion.

People with disabilities should be able to enter buildings and move freely inside, have access to facilities like toilets and lifts, and not be confined to a segregated space or the worst seats.

It is also unlawful to:

  • discriminate when granting qualifications.
  • treat people unfavourably in work or study because they wear dress or adornments or present an appearance that is required by or symbolic of their religion.

Single-sex schools are exempt from sex discrimination provisions and are allowed to select only male or female students.

Equal opportunity law also applies to groups or organisations that approve qualifications needed for employment.

Clubs and associations

Equal opportunity law applies to membership, rights and benefits of clubs and associations.

Clubs for people of a particular age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnic group or disability, are allowed.


Equal opportunity law makes it unlawful to publish advertisements that indicate an intention to discriminate.

For example, if a retailer advertises a position for sales staff of a specific age group (without a valid reason), an applicant would have the right to lodge a discrimination complaint.

Sometimes there are legitimate reasons to advertise in a way that would potentially be discriminatory. See Exceptions to the rules for more.