What is an exemption?
The Commissioner is able to grant exemptions from some parts of the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 (the Act). Exemptions can only be granted for purposes that further the objects of the Act. Exemptions may be granted subject to conditions set by the Commissioner and are limited to a term of not more than three years.
It would not be consistent with furthering the objects of the Act to grant exemptions simply to certify that discrimination or prohibited conduct can continue, on the basis that the conduct may be protected under an exception to the Act (sometimes called a 'defence') such as unjustifiable hardship or inherent requirements.
It may be consistent with furthering the objects of the Act to grant exemptions on condition that the applicant commits to a plan of improvements that will, over a reasonable time frame, eliminate the discrimination or prohibited conduct.
Exemptions have been granted to confirm that an action is consistent with the promotion of equal opportunity or is a special measure to benefit a group that is disadvantaged or has a special need because of an attribute listed in the Act.
For the period of time the exemption is granted, it may operate as a defence to a complaint lodged about the exempt conduct. Where a person/organisation argues that an exemption applies to the conduct, the onus is on the person/organisation to prove that it properly applies.