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Marital/domestic status discrimination - Conciliations​

 
     

    Employment

    Not allowed to work together

    A man and his wife had met on the job and both performed the same duties and worked in the same department. The employer had a policy that close relatives shouldn’t work together because a ‘conflict of interest’ might occur, and transferred the man to another section he didn’t want to work in.

    At conciliation, the employer apologised and agreed to change their policy. The new policy would also cover promotions and transfers, ensuring that discrimination based on marital status would no longer occur. The man was happy with this outcome.

    Hours of work dropped because married 

    A woman who worked at a club on a casual basis noticed that her hours of work had dropped significantly while those of her colleagues were unchanged. She said that when she asked her manager why this had happened he said her hours were cut because unlike the other staff she 'had a husband to support her'. The matter was settled when the employer wrote the woman a letter of apology and agreed to increase her hours of work to the previous level.

    Questions at job interview

    At a job interview, the woman complainant was asked if she was married, and when she said she was not, whether she was in a relationship. When she said she was in a relationship, the interviewer began asking her how long she had been with her partner, when they were planning to get married and when she was planning to have children, as she (the interviewer) wanted someone for the long term and not someone who was going to leave to have children.

    The woman asked that the Board call the interviewer and advise her about marital status discrimination and her obligations under anti-discrimination law. The complaint was resolved when this occurred.

    Husband's criminal record

    A woman worked as a cleaner for the respondent and was told she could not work at certain sites because of her husband's past criminal record. She made a complaint to the Board, and the respondent agreed that this should not have occurred, even though she was given alternative work. They undertook to give her work at the sites in question when it came up, and to write to the sites advising them of this.

    Goods and services

    Request denied on m oral grounds

    A woman approached a local newspaper to publish a photo of her wedding and her child's christening, which had been a combined event. The editor refused to publish the photo because the owners of the paper objected to it on moral grounds. The matter was settled when the newspaper agreed to publish, free of charge, the birth notice and christening photos of the child the woman was now expecting.

    Voucher denied because separated

    A woman attended a presentation by a vacation club, which was offering a travel voucher as an inducement. When she arrived she was told she was ineligible to attend the presentation or receive the voucher as she was separated rather than single or married. The company said that the woman was welcome to attend the presentation but only single or married people were eligible for the travel voucher, as the company wanted to market their product to people whose financial status was clear.

    When the Board pursued the matter further, the company eventually agreed that they had not followed their own procedures correctly or adequately assessed the woman’s financial status. The complaint was resolved when the company agreed to change their procedures and to give the woman the travel voucher.

    Accommodation

    Single women denied flat

    A woman complained that she had been told by a real estate agent that the owner of the flat didn’t want to rent to two single women, only to a married couple. The Board took the complaint up with the real estate agent, who offered the women alternative accommodation.

    Separated woman denied accommodation

    A woman who was separated from her spouse was refused accommodation by a real estate agent. She said he told her  he was not prepared to consider her child support payments as part of her income, although they made up a substantial part of her income and she could afford the rent. She alleged that receiving child support payments was a characteristic that generally applied to people who are separated or divorced. At conciliation, the agent agreed to re-consider the woman’s arguments and then offered to rent her the property.  ​