- Key Focus Areas
- Enquiries and Complaints
- Human Rights
- The Treaty
- Disabled People
- Race Relations
- International & UN
- Office of Human Rights Proceedings
- What can I complain about?
- Resolving Discrimination and Harassment guide
- Areas of public life
- Government or Public Sector Activities
- Access by the public to places, vehicles and facilities
- Industrial and professional associations, qualifying bodies and vocational training bodies
- Provision of goods and services
- Provision of land, housing and other accommodation
- Discriminatory Laws
- Accommodating disability and religious beliefs
- Accommodation, property, landlords and human rights
- ACC and age discrimination
- Bullying, harassment and/or violence at school
- Caring for disabled adult family members
- Clubs and the Human Rights Act
- English language only in the workplace
- Funeral arrangements
- Human Rights and Redundancy
- Job application questions
- Maori Party and the Human Rights Act
- Moko: your rights
- New Zealands official languages
- Positive actions to achieve equality
- Prisoners’ rights
- Racially offensive comments
- Reviewing decisions
- The School Ball
- Smoking and human rights
- Wearing cultural, religious or national items
- What do I do?
- What happens?
- Further links
Enquiries and Complaints Guide
Wearing cultural, religious or national items
Can I wear jewellery and/or other items that express my religion, culture or nationality to work or to school?
It depends. Schools and employers may have uniform standards. At the same time people should be able to wear jewellery such as a cross and taonga when these express their religious, spiritual or cultural beliefs.
Discrimination on the grounds of religious belief and/or ethnic or national origins is not allowed under the Human Rights Act and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act. This means that if your workplace or school does not let you wear items that significantly reflect your religion or cultural beliefs, it might be unlawful discrimination.
Many schools require pupils to wear a school uniform and many workplaces have dress codes. Schools and workplaces can prevent you from wearing items like taonga or a crucifix for reasons such as health and safety.
If an employer or a school staff member does not let you wear a religious or cultural item of significance, you can call the Commission for help on 0800 496 877.
If you are at school, Ministry of Education facilitators may also be able to help out. If you are an employee, you can contact the Employment Relations Service for further advice.
Organisations that may be able to help are:
- Ministry of Education
- Youth Law – schools section
- The Department of Labour’s Employment Relations Service
- The Office of Ethnic Affairs