If a complaint of discrimination or harassment is made to the Australian Human Rights Commission, the complaint may be resolved through a process known as ‘conciliation’.

Conciliation is an informal, flexible approach to resolving complaints. The Commission tries to help everyone involved in the complaint to understand the issues and find a solution that is acceptable to everyone. We do not take sides and remain impartial at all times.

Conciliation can take place in a face-to-face meeting called a ‘conciliation conference’ or through a telephone conference. In some cases complaints can be resolved through an exchange of letters or by passing messages by phone or email through the conciliator.

Outcomes will vary depending on the nature of the complaint. For example, agreements can include an apology, reinstatement to a job, compensation for lost wages, changes to a policy or putting in place anti-discrimination policies.

If a complaint of unlawful discrimination or harassment cannot be resolved by conciliation, the person making the complaint can make an application to have the matter heard in court.

Complaints of discrimination, harassment and bullying in employment based on a person’s criminal record, trade union activity, political opinion, religion or social origin under the Australian Human Rights Commission Act will be reported to Parliament where the Commission finds a breach of the Act.