Parental status

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

Parental status means whether or not a person is a parent. It includes the status of not having children.

The Act provides a definition of parent which, in addition to a mother and father, includes:

  • step-parent; and
  • adoptive parent; and
  • foster parent; and
  • guardian.

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Parental status discrimination examples

  • A woman with children is not considered for a promotion to manager because the employer thinks she will miss too much work caring for her kids.
  • A man requested leave at short notice to take his sick daughter to hospital because of a medical emergency. This was refused by his manager and the man resigned on the spot in anger at the decision. A few days later the man asked to be re-employed but this was refused.
  • A woman who was not a parent applied for the position of Director of a childcare centre - a position for which she was well qualified. The childcare centre board advised her that she was unsuccessful, because they believed that the Director needed to have first hand experience as a parent.

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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 parental status 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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