skip to Main Content
1800 437 825 Media

Relationship status discrimination is unlawful

People should not be treated unfairly because they are married, or are not married, or are in some other type of relationship.

It is against the law to discriminate against a person because of his or her marital or relationship status.

This includes people who are single, married, in a de facto relationship, separated, divorced, widowed or never married.

It also includes people in same-sex relationships.

What is relationship status discrimination?

Discrimination happens when a person is treated less favourably than another person with a different marital or relationship status would be treated in the same or similar circumstances.

It is also discrimination when there is an unreasonable requirement or practice that is the same for everyone but has an unfair effect on people of a particular marital or relationship status.

Example: A company that employees people to work in remote locations only offers weekend leave to married staff so they can visit their families, but does not offer the same leave to workers who are single or in de facto relationships.

The law

There are both state and federal laws that protect people against discrimination based on their relationship status.

In Queensland, the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person because of their relationship status.

Relationship status means whether a person is:

  • single
  • married
  • married to another person, but living separately and apart from the other person
  • divorced
  • widowed
  • a defacto partner (including a same sex defacto partner)
  • a registered partner

How we can help

If you have experienced discrimination on the basis of your relationship status, our team of Australian workplace lawyers and industrial advocates at Discrimination Claims can help.

We can take action on your behalf and represent you in the Human Rights Commission or any other relevant court or tribunal.

We are specialists at negotiating large compensation payments for those who have been subjected to unlawful discrimination, including relationship status discrimination.

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

To connect with us, please follow us on


LAST UPDATED: January 2023

Back To Top