The Commission can conduct a formal investigation under the provisions of most of the anti-discrimination legislation. The exceptions are Sexual Orientation legislation [employment] and Age legislation.
There are some differences to the formal investigation powers across the different legislative areas but in all cases the Commission has important powers to obtain information, make recommendations, issue reports, issue non discrimination notices and use legally binding agreements or directions.
Formal investigations may be based on a general principal of achieving the promotion equality of opportunity under one of the discriminatory grounds. Alternatively, they may be based on a belief that a discriminatory act has occurred, and as such are confined to the investigation of a named person or persons.
Before initiating an investigation the Commission will consider the importance of the issue to equality and in the context of the strategic value of the investigation in relation to its current business objectives.