How we can help

Information and support

The Human Rights Commission offers two free, confidential services for the public.

Human rights information and support 

If you have faced discrimination, hateful speech, or your human rights have been denied, contact us. Our team can help you to get the information and support you need from the commission or another organisation if they are better able to help.

Dispute resolution 

If what you are experiencing, or have experienced in the past, could be unlawful discrimination you may be referred to our team of mediators for dispute resolution. They will step you through how we can work with you to help resolve your complaint.  

Not all cases are discrimination under the Human Rights Act 1993, and not all situations will be referred for dispute resolution. Dispute resolution can also be available in cases of sexual or racial harassment.

The information below will tell you more about discrimination and our dispute resolution service. 

For both services call free on 0800 496 877 or email [email protected] 

Make a complaint

Make a complaint

If you have faced discrimination the commission can help you to find out if the discrimination might be unlawful. You can send an enquiry or complaint through our online complaint form available here

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Office of Human Rights Proceedings

Office of Human Rights Proceedings

The Office of Human Rights Proceedings (OHRP) is an independent office within the Human Rights Commission that provides free legal representation to complainants to take selected discrimination cases to the Human Rights Review Tribunal.

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What is unlawful discrimination?

What is unlawful discrimination?

It is unlawful to discriminate on a wide range of grounds, from age and ethnicity to beliefs, employment status and sexual orientation.

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How does dispute resolution work?

How does dispute resolution work?

Our team of mediators will work with you to help resolve disputes.

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Where else can I find information?

Where else can I find information?

Other organisations that may be able to help if you have faced discrimination.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

We answer questions and comment on human rights scenarios and popular topics encountered by the Commission

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Information, Support and Dispute Resolution Areas

The Human Rights Act 1993 protects people in Aotearoa New Zealand from discrimination on a wide range of grounds, from age and ethnicity to beliefs, employment status and sexual orientation. 

The grounds listed below apply to a person’s past, present or assumed circumstances. For example, it is unlawful to discriminate against someone because they have a mental illness, had one in the past, or someone assumes they have a mental illness.

It also protects against sexual and racial harassment, some forms of hateful speech, incitement of racial disharmony, and victimisation. 

Even if the hateful speech you experience is not unlawful it is still harmful and we may be to assist you.

Prohibited grounds for discrimination are covered in detail in part two of the Human Rights Act.

It is unlawful to discriminate based on:

Age

Age

Covers people over the age of 16.

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Colour, Race, Ethnic or National origion

Colour, Race, Ethnic or National origion

Includes nationality or citizenship.

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Disability discrimination

Disability discrimination

Includes physical, psychiatric, intellectual or psychological disability or illness.

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Employment status discrimination

Employment status discrimination

Includes being unemployed or receiving a benefit or ACC. It does not include being employed or being on national superannuation

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Ethical belief discrimination

Ethical belief discrimination

Covers not having an ethical belief.

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Family status discrimination

Family status discrimination

Includes not being responsible for children or other dependants.

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Marital status discrimination

Marital status discrimination

Includes marriages and civil unions that have ended.

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Political opinion discrimination

Political opinion discrimination

Includes not having a political opinion.

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Religious belief discrimination

Religious belief discrimination

Not limited to traditional or mainstream religions.

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Sex discrimination

Sex discrimination

Includes pregnancy and childbirth, and discrimination against transgender and intersex people because of their sex or gender identity.

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Sexual orientation discrimination

Sexual orientation discrimination

Includes being heterosexual, homosexual, lesbian or bisexual.

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Sexual and racial harassment

Sexual and racial harassment

Sexual and racial harassment are particular types of discrimination.

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Racial disharmony

Racial disharmony

It is unlawful to cause or excite hostility against groups of people, or bring them into contempt, because of their race, colour, or ethnic or national origin.

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Indirect discrimination

Indirect discrimination

Indirect discrimination is when an action or policy that appears to treat everyone the same actually discriminates against someone.

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Victimisation

Victimisation

Victimising people because they have claimed their rights.

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