It is generally against the law in NSW to treat you unfairly or harass you because you are
It is also against the law to treat you unfairly or harass you because you have a relative, friend, associate or work colleague who is pregnant or breastfeeding.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding discrimination are classified as a type of sex discrimination under NSW law.
Indirect pregnancy and breastfeeding discrimination are also against the law. This occurs when there is a rule or requirement that disadvantages people who are pregnant or breastfeeding more than people who are not - unless it can be shown that the rule or requirement is 'reasonable in all the circumstances'. Some examples of indirect discrimination are included in the following sections.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding discrimination are against the law in the following areas:
Our statistics show that most discrimination against pregnant women occurs in employment.
Generally, employers must treat pregnant employees the same way as they treat all their other employees. They must do this whether you are permanent, full-time, part-time or casual. They can only treat you differently if there's a legal reason for them to do so.
For example, it is generally against the law to:
Generally, if you've been working regularly for 12 months with the same employer, you have the right to take maternity leave and return to your job afterwards. For full information about maternity leave, contact your employer, your union or NSW Industrial Relations on 131 628.
The NSW law allows employers not to hire a woman if she is pregnant at the time of application or interview. However, in most cases it will be against the federal law not to hire you because you are pregnant. For more information, contact the Australian Human Rights Commission - phone (02) 9284 9600.
It is generally against the law to refuse to make arrangements to assist you to breastfeed at work, if these are reasonable. For example, it may be discrimination if:
If you are treated unfairly or harassed at work because you caring for or supporting a child, you may have been unlawfully discriminated against.
More about carer's responsibilities discrimination....
It is generally against the law to tell you that you can't go somewhere or do something because you are pregnant, in any of the other situations listed under 'When does this law apply?', unless there are valid medical or safety reasons why you shouldn't do this.
It's also against the law to harass you for being pregnant in any of these situations. For example, it could be against the law for a restaurant proprietor to tell you that you shouldn't wear a particular type of clothing in their restaurant because you are pregnant, if other customers are wearing similar clothing.
It is also generally against the law to tell you not to breastfeed or express milk in any of the situations listed under 'When does this law apply?'. For example, it could be against the law to tell you not to breastfeed at a sporting facility such as a gym or swimming pool, at a cinema or club, in a shopping mall, in a restaurant or in an aeroplane.
It may be against the law to tell you that you have to breastfeed in a particular place, if this disadvantages you in some way. For example, telling a student that they must breastfeed outside the classroom and therefore miss their lecture may be discrimination.