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Frequently Asked Questions

Accommodating disability and religious beliefs

Can I ask an employer to make some changes to allow me to do my job if I have a disability or because of my religious belief?

Accommodation, property, landlords and human rights

Can a landlord refuse to let me a flat because of my age?

Can a real estate agent refuse to show me a rental property because I have children?

Can a motel owner refuse to let me and my same-sex partner stay?

Can a hotel refuse me accommodation because my guide dog accompanies me?

Can a vendor refuse to sell me their house because of my race?

Can a landlord specify their ideal tenant?

Can a person advertising for a flatmate turn me down because I am a woman?

What about shared residential situations?

ACC and age discrimination

Can I get ACC if I am getting NZ Superannuation?

Isn’t having to choose between ACC and NZ Superannuation discrimination because of age?

Bullying, harassment and/or violence at school

What can the Human Rights Commission do about bullying, harassment and/or violence in schools?

Where else can young people, parents and schools get support?

Caring for disabled adult family members

What does the ‘Parents as caregivers’ case mean for people looking after their disabled adult family members?

Covid-19 vaccine and human rights

Which human rights are relevant when making decisions about vaccines?

What are the government’s human rights obligations in relation to the COVID-19 vaccine?

Will everyone have to have the vaccine or can you choose whether to have it?

Can the government require me to have a COVID-19 “digital certificate” or “vaccine passport”?

Clubs and the Human Rights Act

Can I be denied membership of a club?

English language only in the workplace

Can my employer say that only English is allowed to be spoken in our workplace?

Funeral arrangements

What is the law if family members disagree over the funeral arrangements of someone who has died?

Family Violence Survivors’ rights at work

In a job interview, can I ask a job applicant if they are or have been affected by family violence?

Do I have to disclose that I am experiencing family violence if asked by my employer?

I feel my employer is restricting my opportunities at work because I am affected by family violence. What can I do?

My partner alleged I am using family violence. They work in the same workplace with me. Does the protection against those affected by family violence apply to me as an alleged perpetrator?

Can the Human Rights Commission help to resolve the dispute between me and my partner if it involves family violence?

Where can I get more information about family violence leave and flexible working?

Golliwogs and blackface

What is wrong with golliwogs and blackface?

Human Rights and Redundancy

What are my rights under the Human Rights Act if I am made redundant?

Immigration and Human Rights

Immigration and Human Rights introduction

Who could recommend an immigration lawyer?

Who could recommend an Immigration Adviser?

What can I do if I think my Immigration application is not being properly considered?

What can I do if I feel I am being harassed by an Immigration NZ staff member?

My sick mother has not been granted permanent residence. Is this disability discrimination?

What are my rights if the other parent of my child takes the child overseas and doesn’t come back?

Immigration NZ is undermining my culture by not recognising the way in which my arranged marriage will come about, can the Commission help me?

Can my children legally attend school while my immigration status is pending?

I am not entitled to free health care, even though my husband is a New Zealand citizen? Is this national origin discrimination?

It is not safe for my brother to be sent back to our home country from New Zealand. How can I help him gain refugee and protected person status?

Who can help me settle here? 

Job application questions

What can I be asked about when applying for a job?

Maori Party and the Human Rights Act

Why is the Maori Party not illegal as a racially-based organisation?

Moko: your rights

Can people refuse to serve me, or employ me, because I wear moko?

New Zealand’s official languages

What are New Zealand’s official languages and when can they be used?

Positive actions to achieve equality

Why can some groups be treated differently in some situations?

Prisoners’ rights

What rights do I have if I am in prison?

If I have a complaint about my treatment in prison what can I do?

Racially offensive comments

What can I do if someone makes a racially offensive comment about me?

What can I do when a public figure makes a racially offensive comment?

What can I do about offensive comments made online?

Reviewing decisions

Can the Commission review decisions made by organisations like ACC, Work and Income New Zealand and New Zealand Immigration Service?

The School Ball

Can the school stop me from going to the school ball on my own?

Can I take a partner of the same-sex to my school ball?

Smoking and human rights

Can an employer refuse to hire me if I smoke?

Are anti-smoking policies at work and in places like bars and restaurants legal?

What about my right to smoke?

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?


Can a celebrant or church minister refuse to marry a same sex couple?

Can wedding services be refused to same sex couples?