Purvis v NSW (11 November 2003) Education: Federal Court and Full Court decisions confirmed. Being treated less favourably than other students because of disruptive behaviour is not direct discrimination because of disability, if other students who behaved the same way would have been treated similarly.
X v The Commonwealth (2 December 1999) Employment: Inherent requirements of a job are not restricted to performance of the physical tasks involved.
Access for All Alliance v Hervey Bay CC (29 June 2007) Costs awarded against association found not to have standing as person aggrieved - case pursued against weight of authority on standing; human rights cases not automatically subject to public interest exception to costs rule.
Devers v Kindilan Society  FCA 1392 (27 November 2009) Discrimination in employment not found: no less favourable treatment because of disability; condition or requirements found in access to interpreting and equipment but not shown to be not reasonable
Varas v Fairfield City Council  FCA 689 Requirement on an employee to attend a medical examination to determine fitness to perform duties found reasonable: appeal from finding that employer did not discriminate against employee on the ground of a disability imputed to the employee dismissed
Forbes v Australian Federal Police (5 May 2004) Employment discrimination claim rejected: less favourable treatment not because of disability but because employer did not believe that employee had disability claimed
Fetherston v Peninsula Health (23 April 2004) A doctor whose vision had deteriorated seriously had his contract terminated when he refused to participate in an independent assessment of his ability to continue practising safely. His employment discrimination claim was rejected.
Barghouti v Transfield (5 June 2002) Constructive dismissal on grounds of disability found: earlier decision of Federal Magistrates Court reversed in part
Cosma v Qantas Airways An employee unable to return to his pre-injury duties after a substantial rehabilitation period was found to be unable to perform the inherent requirements of the job, so no unlawful dicrimination had occurred in terminating his employment. Ability to perform inherent requirements was to be measured against the pre-injury job, not against work which had been given during the rehabilitation program: otherwise there would be a disincentive for employers to provide modified duties while attempting rehabilitation. See now Full Court decision confirming this decision
Court v Hamlyn-Harris Employment discrimination: In argument over whether DDA jurisdiction applied to sole trader, complainant's counsel relied only on section 12(8) regarding interstate trade and commerce and (for whatever reason) did not argue other applicable provisions including those referring to the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention or to matters of international concern. Employer concerned held not to be engaged in interstate trade or commerce; jurisdiction on this basis refused. (8 January 2000)
Ferguson v Department of Further Education (21 July 2005) Complaint of discrimination through limitation on hours of interpreting assistance rejected: limitation below what was required by the student not established as question of fact
Hurst and Devlin v Education Queensland (15 April 2005) Discrimination found in one case and not another where education provided to deaf child other than through Auslan interpreting. In the complaint which was upheld the Court found the child could not comply with a requriement to be able to learn without Auslan interpreting. In the complaint which was not upheld the Court found the child could cope without Auslan interpreting. But see now Full Court decision finding discrimination
Damiano v Wilkinson (21 November 2004) Victimisation complaint dismissed: not victimisation to say would investigate possible legal recourse against unsuccessful complainant (Note: no such recourse is possible due to protection of complainants under DDA and HREOCA).
Sluggett v HREOC (9 August 2002) HREOC decision upheld finding no unlawful discrimination. Accessible facilities and information on these were available, and respondent University was not responsible for complainant's failure to take advantage of them.
Education: Federal Court decision confirmed by Full Court. Being treated less favourably than other students because of disruptive behaviour is not direct discrimination because of disability if other students who behaved the same way would have been treated similarly. Costs awarded against complainant. (24 April 2002).
Education: HREOC finding of unlawful direct discrimination reversed by Federal Court. Exclusion because of behaviour was not direct discrimination because of disability. Complainant was not treated less favourably than other students who behaved the same way would have been treated. Possible indirect discrimination subject to reasonableness of behavioural requirements, but this had not been argued. Complaint returned to HREOC (note under the revised legislation complaint will have to be terminated rather than re-heard). Costs awarded against complainant. (29 August 2001)
Travers v State of NSW (Federal Court, 3 November 2000) Court refuses application by education authority to have complaint summarily dismissed
Federal Magistrates Court decision upheld rejecting claim of unlawful discrimination
Rainsford v Victoria (19 July 2007) Prisoner transport held not to be not a service : see now Full Court decision (11 March 2008): prisoner transport may be a service but no discrimination in this case on its facts.
Oorloff v HREOC and others (7 December 2004) Summary dismissal of complaint lacking in substance: no evidence of disability discrimination
Groundwater v Territory Insurance Office (2 April 2004) Refusal of leave to be represented by non-legally qualified person; observations on substance of claim of inability to attend court or be medically examined due to claimed "multiple chemical sensitivity"
Discrimination claim dismissed: applicant with Asperger's syndrome failed to show that had been subjected to a requirement or condition which he could not comply with of performing ad hoc tasks outside of routine
Saddi v Active Employment (FMC 14 September 2001) Disability employment assistance agencies not found to have discriminated by refusing assistance to person whose disabilities were outside their eligibility criteria; case dismissed but no costs ordered
McKenzie v ACT Department of Urban Services (Federal Magistrates Court, 11 April 2001) Discrimination in employment found; $39,000 compensation ordered. Note that HREOC had previously declined a complaint on the same matter as lacking in substance.
Low v ATO (Federal Magistrates Court, 23 October 2000) Procedure: Complaint dismissed but no costs awarded
Access for All Alliance Inc v Hervey Bay City Council 1 December 2004 Accessibility by mobility impaired persons to Community Centre and various picnic tables located on the foreshore - whether a viewing platform should be created at Community Centre which is infrequently used for entertainment, whether a suitable ramp should be provided - whether all picnic tables should allow access to mobility impaired persons - whether disabled toilets should have internal hand basins - unlawful discrimination found in respect of toilets with external hand basins - Council did not establish unjustifiable hardship.
Wood v Calvary Hospital (16 June 2005) No discrimination in refusal of home nursing service since service unavailable to anyone due to staff shortage
Thorn v Serco (14 January 2005) Claim of discrimination rejected: refusal of service not because of disability
Rainsford v State of Victoria No. 2 (19 October 2004) Decision to confine in restrictive conditions within prison not a "service" under the DDA: decisions made purely in exercise of State statutory function distinuished from educational and rehabilitation services; discussion of "requirement or condition"
Gable v Vero Workers Compensation Ltd (3 March 2004) No discrimination found in complaint by worker dissatisfied with workers compensation service. Discussion of principles of summary dismissal of complaints.
Rainsford v State of Victoria The Chief Federal Magistrate granted an extension of time in order to allow the complainant to file an application in the FMS in relation to one of his allegations concerning contraventions of the DDA. Leave was also given to join Group 4 Correctional Services (the operators of the Port Phillip Prison) as a respondent.
Meyer v Holt (27 June 2002) Claim against court officers dismissed
Rainsford v Group 4 Correctional Services (FMC 13 February 2002) Injunction refused: to grant an injunction requiring release of prisoner from cell would pre-empt role of parole authorities and was not necessary to enable consideration of discrimination complaint regarding back injury.
Rainsford v State of Victoria (FMC 28 November 2001) Magistrate McInnis found that when the enforcement provisions of the DDA were moved into the HREOC Act they ceased to apply against the State Crown, because that is what HREOC Act section 6 provides. Note: Amendments to remedy what was clearly a drafting oversight in the last set of amendments have now taken effect under the HREOC Amendment Act 2002.
Ball v Silver top Taxi Service (15 December 2004) Less timely service for users of wheelchair accessible taxis: no direct discrimination found by booking service; no indirect discrimination by booking service since no unreasonable condition or requirement imposed by booking service
Vance v State Rail Authority of NSW Train carriage doors closing while passenger attempting to board found negligent rather than discriminatory; rail operator found to have exrcised sufficient due diligence to prevent discrimination by employees (FMC 3 May 2004)
Xiros v Fortis Life Insurance (Federal Magistrates Court, 6 April 2001) Magistrate Driver found there to be disability discrimination in an HIV exclusion in insurance, but was satisfied that there was a reasonable basis for exclusion which fell within the exemption of the Act s.46(2). The application was therefore dismissed. No order was made as to costs due mainly to the public interest element of the matter which has some precedent value and implications on similiar insurance policies.
The complainant (a cricket spectator) sought an interim injunction to restrain Mr Hair from umpiring in matches to be played by Sri Lanka in January 2003 alleging that Mr Hair would discriminate against the Sri Lankan bowler Muttiah Muralitharan on the basis of Mr Muralitharan's disability, said to be “flexion deformity”, which caused the bowler’s arm to be bent. The Chief Federal Magistrate dismissed the application on the basis that there was no arguable case. The case was subsequently brought before the Federal Court for an appeal and an application for interim injunction The Court ordered that the notice of appeal/urgent application be struck out.
Vintila v Attorney-General (FMC 1 November 2001) Mr Vintila disagreed with costings in the Regulation Impact Statement for draft Disability Standards for accessible public transport and complained that the approach taken amounted to discrimination in provision of services and in administration of a Commonwealth law or program. Magistrate McInnis dismissed the complaint with costs as misconceived.
Oberoi v HREOC (Federal Magistrates Court 7 June 2001) Claim upheld of discrimination by Inquiry Commissioner in assessing credibility of complainant. Various other claims dismissed.