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

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

What does family responsibilities mean?

Family responsibilities means a person’s responsibilities 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 means:

  • the person’s partner or former partner (whether 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.

What is discrimination?







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

For example:

  • 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 father is dismissed from employment because he took carer’s leave to look after his sick child.
  • a worker is counselled and not provided with further training in his job because he takes carer’s leave to look after his elderly parent.

Where and when can discrimination happen?

Unlawful discrimination on the basis of family responsibilities can happen at work, school or college, in a shop or a restaurant, looking for accommodation, buying property, applying for credit, insurance or a loan, or dealing with tradespeople, business or state or local government.

How we can help

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

If you have been discriminated against on the basis of 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 various courts and tribunals, including the Anti-Discrimination Commission, the Industrial Relations Commission, the Fair Work Commission and the Human Rights Commission.

We will fight to achieve justice for you.

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For more information, please call

Discrimination Claims

1300 853 837

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