It is unlawful to treat people unfairly because they have used equal opportunity laws.
Unlawful victimisation is unfair treatment for complaining about discrimination or harassment. It is also unlawful to be victimised for helping another person to make such a complaint.
It is against the law because victimisation punishes people for speaking out and stops them from complaining.
Victimisation for making a public interest disclosure (whistleblowing)
As of 1 July 2019, the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2018 (PID Act) replaces the Whistleblowers Protection Act 1993.
South Australians now receive protection under the PID Act when they reveal information which they believe:
- poses a substantial risk to public health and safety, or to the environment, or
- in specific circumstances - when they make a disclosure of 'public administration information', as long as they comply with the requirements set out in the PID Act.
Public administration information is information about;
- potential corruption
- maladministration in public administration.
The PID Act protects informants from being victimised for revealing public interest information as long as they comply with the requirements. The protections apply differently to these two types of public interest information.
- They apply to all persons (informants) who make an appropriate disclosure of environmental and health information.
- They apply only to public officers who make an appropriate disclosure of public administration information.
Informants can lodge a complaint of victimisation with the Equal Opportunity Commission.
Complaints need to show the information was an 'appropriate disclosure', this includes:
- what type of public interest information was disclosed,
- who the information was disclosed to, and
- their belief or suspicion was reasonable as required by the PID Act.
Learn more from the Office of the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment website.