The Human Rights Review Tribunal (HRRT) has dismissed a claim for discrimination relating to a failed job application. The case involved an experienced bus driver who took a couple years off work, following work incidents and a mental health diagnosis, to look after himself and manage his wellbeing. When he decided to return to bus driving, he made an application for work to a new bus company.

The interview went well, but unfortunately the new employer could not obtain two suitable references from his previous employer. It was for this reason that his application was denied, but the bus driver was under the impression his application was denied because of his mental health status. He applied to the HRRT alleging discrimination on the grounds of disability.

Under our human rights laws, it is prohibited to discriminate against a qualified person in an employment matter because of their disability which includes mental health disorders. It is also prohibited to offer the applicant less favourable terms of employment, conditions of work, superannuation, opportunities for training and promotion because of their disability.

The Tribunal found that the bus driver’s mental health status was not a material factor in refusing to give an offer of employment. It was the lack of a suitable referee. For this reason, the Tribunal dismissed the claim. If you believe that you have been discriminated against or are facing an allegation of discrimination, it is important to take advice from a professional experienced in the area.


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Alan Knowsley