Innovative discrimination laws


This project evaluates the effectiveness of new mechanisms in the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic) which were designed to target systemic discrimination and promote substantive equality.


Project Background and Aims

The Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic) is the most modern anti-discrimination law in Australia and contains a number of innovative mechanisms including a focus on substantive equality, simplified definitions of direct and indirect discrimination, positive obligations on duty holders to address discrimination, a focus on early dispute resolution, direct access to the tribunal, and powers for the statutory agency to encourage compliance with the law. This project will evaluate the effectiveness of those mechanisms in addressing systemic discrimination and promoting substantive equality. The project is being funded by the Victorian Legal Services Board.


The effectiveness of the new mechanisms in the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic) will be examined through a combination of doctrinal analysis, documentary analysis and empirical legal research. Interviews will be conducted with staff at the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, and barristers and solicitors practising in Victoria.


Research Report

Journal Articles

  • Dominique Allen, Alysia Blackham, ‘Under Wraps: Secrecy, Confidentiality and the Enforcement of Equality Law in Australia and the UK’ (2019) 43(2), Melbourne University Law Review
  • Dominique Allen, ‘Confidentiality Hides the Extent of Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces’ Revue de Droit comparé du Travail et de la Sécurité sociale (Comparative Labour and Social Security Law Review) (forthcoming, 2019)

Conference Presentations

  • Dominique Allen, Positive and Proactive: A New Model for Enforcing Anti-Discrimination Law, Monash University, 22 August 2019 (with Belinda Smith)
  • Dominique Allen, Proactive Approaches to Addressing Discrimination and Inequality by Business: Mapping the Current Approach, ‘Innovate Rights’ Academic Workshop, UNSW, Sydney 14 May 2019
  • Dominique Allen, The Challenges of Addressing Workplace Discrimination – A Case Study of Victoria, ‘Global Work, Quality Work’, 33rd Annual AIRAANZ Conference, RMIT University, 12-14 February 2019
  • Dominique Allen, Victoria’s Equal Opportunity Act – Does it Contain the Best Tools for the Job?, ‘The Persistence of Inequity at Work: Examination of the Impact of Almost 50 Years of Anti-discrimination and Equity Law, Policy and Practices’, Macquarie University, 15 November 2018
  • Dominique Allen, A New Approach to Tackling Workplace Discrimination in Victoria: Findings from an Empirical Study, the Australian Labour Law Association’s Biannual Conference, Broadbeach, 9-10 November 2018
  • Dominique Allen, The Troubling State of Anti-Discrimination Law in Australia, the Society of Legal Scholars’ Annual Conference, London 6-7 September 2018
  • Dominique Allen, Direct Access to Court for Discrimination Claimants: Evaluating a Unique Victorian Innovation, Monash Courts and Tribunals Research Roundtable, Melbourne, 18 September 2017