What is unlawful discrimination?

Family status

What does the Human Rights Act mean by family status?

The ground of family status covers:

  • being responsible for children or other dependants (part-time or full-time)
  • having no responsibility for the care of children or other dependants
  • being married to or being in a civil union or de facto relationship with a particular person
  • being a relative of a particular person

What does the Human Rights Act say about family status?

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

What exceptions are there applying to family status?

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

In general:

  • Preferential treatment for care of dependants.

In employment (includes pre-employment and advertising):

  • Crew of non-New Zealand ships and aircraft.
  • Work involving national security.
  • Preferential treatment regarding responsibility for care of dependants.
  • Reporting relationships in employment.

In accommodation:

  • Shared residential accommodation.

Further information

Human rights enquiries & complaints guide (PDF Version).
Available in Maori, Samoan, Tongan, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional) and Hindi.