COVID-19 and discrimination law

Last Updated: 04 Nov 2020 4:09pm

Your rights and responsibilities

Discrimination is against the law in Tasmania in a number of areas, including:

  • Employment (paid and unpaid work)
  • Providing goods and services
  • Education (schools and universities)
  • Accommodation, including rentals

Your rights during the pandemic

During the pandemic, and while various restrictions are in place, you have the right to live and work in a discrimination and harassment free environment.

You have the right not to be discriminated against because of your race, disability, family responsibilities and a number of other grounds.

Disability includes any medical condition, including coronavirus (COVID-19).

It is also against the law to treat someone less favourably because you think that they have COVID-19.

Examples of unlawful discrimination and prohibited conduct

  • Making racist comments towards people because of their race. Race includes a person’s skin colour, nationality, ethnic background and immigrant status.
  • Reducing someone’s hours or terminating someone’s employment because they have COVID-19, or have a family member who is in isolation, or have completed a period of quarantine due to suspected COVID-19.
  • Refusing to rent a property to someone because of their race, or because they have COVID-19.
  • Cancelling a rental contract/agreement because you think someone may get COVID-19 because that person is a health care worker.
  • Refusing to serve a customer because of their race, or because they are wearing a mask.
  • Not providing proper services or support to someone with disability when those services could be provided while COVID-19 restrictions are in place.
  • Not allowing family members to visit residents in aged care facilities and hospitals, or limiting visits in a way that is stricter than the current legal restrictions.
  • Not allowing an employee to work from home who is at higher risk of moderate to severe illness from COVID-19 or has family/caring responsibilities.

Refusing a person access to services, a business or premises on the basis of whether or not they have the COVIDSafe app installed on their mobile device is also unlawful.

Your responsibilities during the pandemic

  • You have a responsibility to follow all the latest public health advice and laws related to managing the pandemic.
  • You have a responsibility not to discriminate, engage in offensive, humiliating, insulting, intimidating or ridiculing conduct, or incite hatred towards people because of their race or presumed disability (including if you think they have COVID-19).

If you have any questions or would like to lodge a complaint, please contact Equal Opportunity Tasmania on 6165 7515 or 1300 305 062 or email