21. Discrimination, harassment, and access to services

Justice of the Peace Handbook

It is unlawful to discriminate against a person on the basis of age, breastfeeding, carer status, disability, employment activity, gender identity, industrial activity, lawful sexual activity, marital status, parental status, physical features, political belief or activity, pregnancy, race (including colour, nationality, ethnicity and ethnic origin, religious belief or activity, sex, sexual orientation, expunged homosexual conviction and personal association with someone who has, or is assumed to have, any of these personal characteristics).66

Motive is irrelevant to discrimination

In determining whether a person discriminates against someone else, the person's motive is irrelevant. Even if you do not intend to cause offence or otherwise engage in unfavourable treatment towards a person, your behaviour may amount to discrimination.

Sexual harassment

It is also unlawful to sexually harass someone. Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual behaviour, which could be expected to make a person feel offended, humiliated, or intimidated. It can by physical, verbal or written. It is not consensual interaction, flirtation or friendship nor is it behaviour that is mutually agreed upon. A single incident is enough to constitute sexual harassment. It does not have to be repeated. Although men experience sexual harassment, it disproportionately affects women.

Discrimination and the Code of Conduct for Honorary Justices

As a JP you need to carefully consider how you respond to those who are different from you (whether as a result of gender, sexual orientation marital status, race, ethnicity, disability, or any other personal characteristic) to ensure that you do not behave in a way that is biased or prejudiced and that you are respectful towards all the people who seek your assistance.

As a JP, you must comply with the Honorary Justice Code of Conduct. Item 5 of the Code of Conduct includes a requirement that you must act, and be seen to act, without prejudice and discrimination when performing your honorary justice functions. If you are unable to comply with the Code of Conduct you put yourself at risk of disciplinary procedures, including removal from office.


[66] Equal Opportunity Act 2010