Terri works in a cafe and asks her manager why she wasn't paid penalty rates for working the weekend shift. Sharon, her manager, then stops giving Terri shifts.

Terri is being treated unfavourably because she asked about her work entitlements, which is employment activity discrimination.

In Victoria it is against the law for employers to treat you unfavourably because you make reasonable requests or raise concerns about your work entitlements or rights.

This is known as discrimination on the basis of employment activity.

What does the law say about discrimination because of employment activity?

You have the right to ask about your job entitlements – things like rates of pay, annual leave and workplace safety – as long as it is in a reasonable manner. That means asking at an appropriate time, not asking for something that is unrealistic or over the top, and not being violent or threatening.

When you do want to make a request you might want to first check your contract or payslip in case the information is there. If that doesn’t help, you might want to put your request in writing so you can make sure it is clear.

If you make a reasonable request about your employment entitlements, your boss can’t treat you unfavourably or penalise you because of your request, for example by:

  • cutting your hours or regular overtime
  • denying you annual leave
  • transferring you to undesirable duties
  • not granting you a promotion
  • not providing you with access to services and training in the workplace
  • sacking you.

It is also against the law for your boss to treat you unfavourably because of your political views or activities, or because you belong to a union.

In some cases there might be an exception. Contact us to find out more.


Visit our webpage about employment activity discrimination for more information.

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