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Employment sexual discrimination law

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The Sex Discrimination Act SDA makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person because of their sex, gender identity, intersex status, sexual orientation, marital or relationship status, family responsibilities, because they are pregnant or might become pregnant or because they are breastfeeding.

For more information, see the fact sheet Sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status discrimination. The SDA protects people across Australia from discrimination in a number of areas in public life, Employment sexual discrimination law employment, education, getting or using services, or renting or buying a house or unit.

Employment sexual discrimination law discrimination in employment occurs when someone is treated less favourably than a person of the opposite sex would be treated in the same or similar circumstances. It can occur when employers or managers hold assumptions about what sort of work women are capable — or not capable — of performing. For exampleafter working for 11 years with an accounting firm, Erin had been promoted to the role of group auditor.

However, when a new manager was appointed, he began treating her differently to the male employees working in similar positions. Erin said she was over-scrutinized, excluded from group events and that her salary package was less than male employees in equivalent positions.

When she complained to management about these issues, the treatment became worse. The SDA makes it unlawful to discriminate when advertising jobs, during recruitment and selection processes, when making decisions about training, transfer and Employment sexual discrimination law opportunities, and in the terms, conditions and termination of employment.

All types of employers and employment relationships are covered under the SDA, including: Commonwealth Government employees and private sector employees, full-time, part-time and casual employees, contract workers and commission agents, as well as apprentices, trainees and those on probation.

It also covers recruitment processes carried out through recruitment, labour hire and employment agencies. However, the SDA does not cover sexual harassment or sex discrimination in employment by state instrumentalities. The SDA makes it unlawful to discriminate in the provision of services, such as banking and insurance services; services provided by government agencies; transport or telecommunication services; professional services, such as those provided by lawyers, doctors or tradespeople; and services provided by restaurants, shops or entertainment venues.

For example, it could be discrimination if a bank refused to approve a loan because the applicant was unmarried or was divorced.

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