Religious belief

What does the Human Rights Act mean by religious belief?

The term ‘religious belief’ is not defined in the Human Rights Act, although it is contrasted with the term ‘ethical belief’ which means the lack of a religious belief.

What does the Human Rights Act say about religious belief?

It is unlawful to discriminate on the ground of religious belief in any of the prohibited areas of public life.

Exceptions

There are a number of circumstances where it is not unlawful to discriminate on the ground of religious belief. These include:

In employment (includes pre-employment and advertising):

  • crews of non-New Zealand ships and aircraft
  • work involving national security
  • work performed outside New Zealand
  • domestic employment in a private household.

Qualifying bodies:

  • established customs of a religion.

In accommodation:

  • shared residential accommodation
  • hostels and institutions.
Further Information

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