Working Women's Resource Centre

WWRCWorking Women's Resource Centre

Your Rights at Work

The Law

The Human Rights Act 1993 protects you from being discriminated against by your employer at work. Discrimination includes being treated unfairly or less favourably than another person in the same or similar circumstances, because:

  • You are a woman
  • You are pregnant
  • You wish to have children in the future
  • You have responsibility for children or other dependants
  • You are married or single

The Act says it may be against the law for an employer to discriminate against you, based on the above reasons, when you apply for or are interviewed for a job or when you are working.

It is NOT against the law for your employer to give you favourable treatment because you are pregnant or have responsibility for children or other dependents.

Applying for a Job

Even before you get a job, employers cannot discriminate against you because you are a woman. Job advertisements cannot say that a job is suited to a certain gender.

During interviews or on job application forms employers cannot ask a question in which they may intend to discriminate, such as question about:

  • Whether you are single, married, divorced or have a boyfriend/girlfriend
  • If you have children or other people you look after
  • If you plan to have children later on
  • If you are using birth control
  • At Work

When you are working, employers cannot discriminate against you because you are a woman.

Generally it is against the law for an employer to:

  • Refuse to assign you certain tasks because you are a woman
  • Pay you less money for doing the same work as other staff who are men
  • Refuse to promote you because you are a woman
  • Sometimes sex discrimination is allowed, such as required the model for men’s clothes to be a man.

Sexual Harassment is unwelcome or offensive sexual behaviour that is repeated or significant enough to have a harmful effect on you. If it happens when you are working it is against the law.

Work and your Family

Many women have family responsibilities which affect their working lives. If your employer fails to accommodate your family needs or makes demands on you that are unreasonable and affect your family responsibilities this may be against the law.