Family responsibilities

The Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person because of their family responsibilities.

Family responsibilities of a person means the person's responsibilities to care for or support:

  • a dependant child of the person; or
  • any other member of the person's immediate family who is in need of care or support.

Immediate family of a person means:

  • the person's spouse or former spouse; or
  • a child of the person or the person's spouse or former spouse, including an exnuptial child, stepchild, adopted child, or past or present foster child of the person or the person's spouse or former spouse; or
  • a parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of the person or the person's spouse or former spouse.

Spouse of a person means:

  • the person's husband or wife; or
  • the person's de facto partner, whether of the same or different sex

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Family responsibilities discrimination examples

  • A worker is counselled by his supervisor and not provided with further training in the job because he took carer's leave to look after his elderly parent.
  • A worker on a 12 month contract  took several days carer's leave to care for her young dependent child. The amount of leave taken did not exceed her contractual entitlement. Her manager was unhappy with the concept of carer's leave in general, and gave her a low performance review rating. She was informed that her contract of employment would not be renewed.
  • A student at a high school cares for his father who has a mental health condition. His father had a crisis, resulting in the student being unable to attend school to sit for an exam. The school says it will not permit the student to do the exam at a later date.

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Information and enquiry service

Individuals, employers and business operators can access the Commission's statewide telephone information and enquiry service.

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Making a complaint

Make a complaint to the Commission on the Complaint Form about family responsibilities discrimination.

The complaint must be lodged with the Commission within 1 year of the discrimination happening.

The Commission's service is free.

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