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What are family responsibilities?

Many Australian workers have family responsibilities that involve looking after children or another immediate family member.

Family responsibilities means a person has the responsibility to care for, or support:

  • a dependent child of the person, or
  • any other member of the person’s immediate family who is in need of care or support

Immediate family are:

  • a person’s partner or former partner (whether they be the same or different sex)
  • a child of the person or a child of the person’s partner or former partner (this includes step children, adopted children and foster children)
  • a parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of the person or of the person’s partner

It is unlawful to discriminate against a person because of their family responsibilities.

What is discrimination?

Discrimination happens when someone is treated less favourably than someone else in the same situation because of their family responsibilities.

Discrimination can also happen when adverse action is taken against a person because of their family responsibilities.

For example:

  • a father is sacked because he took carer’s leave to look after his sick child
  • a single mother is overlooked for a promotion, or not recruited for a job, because the employer believes that looking after her child might make her unreliable
  • a worker is not given further training in his job because he takes carer’s leave to look after his elderly parent

Where can discrimination happen?

Unlawful discrimination on the basis of your family responsibilities can happen when you’re at work, or at school, or university or TAFE.

It can also happen when you’re buying a home, or applying for rental accommodation, and it can also happen when you are applying for credit, insurance or a loan.


How we can help

Our team of Australian employment lawyers and industrial advocates at Discrimination Claims are specialists in discrimination matters.

If you have experienced discrimination on the basis of your family responsibilities, you may be entitled to compensation, or an apology, or reinstatement if you have been dismissed from employment.

We can represent you in the Human Rights Commission, the Industrial Relations Commission, or the Fair Work Commission, or any other relevant court or tribunal.

We can advise you of your best options moving forward, to ensure you get the outcome you are looking for.

Make no mistake, we will not give up fighting until we have achieved justice for you.

IMPORTANT:  If you have been dismissed from employment because of your family responsibilities, you only have 21 days from the date of your dismissal to lodge a claim, so don’t delay!


Recent stories about parental responsibilities discrimination

>>  New mum wins $25,000 after being refused flexible work hours

>>  Worker awarded $100,000 after being refused time off to care for dying girlfriend


Please call Discrimination Claims today on

1300 853 837

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email our consultants here

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