Family & Parental Responsibility Discrimination
Under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, family responsibilities mean someone’s responsibility to care for or support a dependent child or another member of their immediate family.
Under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, family responsibilities mean someone’s responsibility to care for or support a dependent child or other members of their immediate family.
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 ex-nuptial 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; or
- the person’s civil partner under the Civil Partnerships Act 2011.
Discrimination on the basis of family responsibilities can be direct or indirect.
Direct discrimination is treating a person less favorably because of their family responsibilities than someone in similar circumstances without those responsibilities.
For example, an employee is being refused a bonus because she took a care leave to look after his elderly father.
Indirect discrimination may be less obvious. Sometimes a rule or policy seems to treat everyone the same, but in fact, some people end up being treated less favorably. Indirect discrimination happens when there is an unreasonable requirement that people with a certain attribute (or characteristic) have difficulty complying with, compared to others without that attribute.
Employers may discriminate based on family responsibilities when they deny employment or promotions, harass, pay less, or otherwise take negative employment action against an employee because of the employee's family responsibilities. Family responsibilities discrimination can affect almost any employee.