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Anti-Discrimination and Advertising Guidelines

As an employer in NSW, you are obliged to be aware of Federal and State anti-discrimination laws that make it unlawful to publish or display an advertisement that indicates, or could reasonably be understood to indicate an intention to discriminate. It is your responsibility as the employer or recruiter to ensure that your advertisement complies with all relevant employment and anti-discrimination laws applicable in the state in which you conduct business.

These guidelines can assist you in writing your advertisement but are not intended to be nor should they be relied on as a substitute for legal or other professional advice.

  • Discrimination is prohibited in employment. Anti-discrimination laws apply to all employers in Australia, and to all recruitment processes undertaken in Australia by an Australian or an overseas company. The relevant laws prohibit both direct and indirect discrimination. Direct discrimination occurs when a person with a certain attribute is treated less favourably than a person who does not have that attribute in the same or similar circumstances. Indirect discrimination concerns a requirement which appears neutral but is unreasonable and a significant proportion of people with a particular attribute are unable to meet that requirement.
  • In general, all jobs (including trainee- and apprenticeships) must be open to all people on the basis of merit, and only merit. This means that it is illegal to discriminate against, or in favour of, the following attributes in employment advertising: age, breastfeeding, disability, transgender status, industrial activity, marital status, family responsibilities, physical features, political belief or activity, pregnancy, race, religious belief or activity, sex, sexual orientation and personal association with person with attributes identified.
  • There are many terms that are prohibited from advertisements, such as 'Married man required', 'Single applicants only', 'Australian only', the use of 'He, she, male female, girl, boy, woman, man' etc.  An advertisement cannot ask for 'Australian Citizenship'. It can, however, ask for ‘valid authority to work in Australia'.  In preparing your advertisement, opt for gender-neutral terms, such as 'Foreperson' instead of 'Foreman' and 'Flight Attendant' instead of 'Air Hostess', and ‘Cleaner’ instead of ‘Cleaning Lady’. Age cannot be specified in employment advertising. The use of 'Mature', 'senior' and 'junior' are examples of indirect discrimination.
  • There are exceptions to the relevant anti-discrimination laws. If you believe you are entitled to rely on an exception, please contact the Anti-Discrimination Board below to disclose the basis for the exception. It is also possible to obtain a written exemption from a relevant government body. For more information, please refer to the Anti-Discrimination Board of New South Wales website.

The Rural Doctors Network (RDN) vacancy website is monitored for accuracy including spelling and the appropriateness of content. If the website officer is concerned about any of the language posted in the vacancies on the RDN’s vacancy website, you will be contacted by the website officer prior to the advertisement being posted. To ask questions about your advertisement please call the Project Officer - Medical Vacancies on (02) 4924 8000.

For additional and detailed information about Anti-Discrimination Law and Legislation, please contact the Anti-Discrimination Board of New South Wales on (02) 9268 5544 or toll free 1800 670 812 (for regional NSW only).