Non Discriminatory Advertising

As an employer or recruiter, non discriminatory advertising is your responsibility. You need to ensure your advertisement complies with all relevant employment and anti-discrimination laws applicable in the state in which you conduct business.  If not, your ignorance could cost you.  

In general, all jobs must be open to all people on the basis of merit, and only merit.  It is illegal to discriminate against, or in favour of, the following attributes in employment advertising: 

  • age,  
  • breastfeeding,  
  • disability,  
  • transgender status,  
  • industrial activity,  
  • marital status,  
  • family responsibilities,  
  • physical features,  
  • political belief or activity,  
  • pregnancy,  
  • race,  
  • religious belief or activity,  
  • sex,  
  • sexual orientation or personal association with person having attributes identified, eg: married man required, single applicants only, Australian only; the use of he, she, male, female, girl, boy, woman, man and so on.  

In preparing your advertisement select gender neutral terms such as: 


  Avoid Using    Instead Use 
 Foreman  Foreperson 
 Girl Friday / Office Junior  Office Assistant
 Senior / Mature  Responsible / Capable
 Years of experience  Successful track record
 Senior Programmer  Principal Programmer

An advertisement cannot ask for 'Australian Citizenship'. It can, however, ask for an 'authority to work in Australia'.

Rule of thumb:
  Don’t exaggerate the position in the hope of securing the best candidate. Be honest. Non discriminatory advertising is fairer for everyone, ensures that the widest possible audience is reached and also avoids potential legal cases which may be costly and time-consuming. 

Seeking legal or professional advice is strongly recommended, as these are guidelines only. 

For information about Anti-Discrimination Law and Legislation for your State visit the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission web site.