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Communtity Law Manual | Disability rights | Employment: Access to jobs and protection against discrimination

Employment: Access to jobs and protection against discrimination


In this section we explain these areas of employment law:

  • what you do, and don’t, have to say about an impairment when you’re looking for work
  • minimum wage rates, including when and how you can be employed below minimum wage
  • how workplace discrimination laws protect you from being fired or disadvantaged in your current job.

People First Aotearoa have produced a number of Easy Read guides about employment law, including an Easy Read employment agreement. Their guides are available at:

How “disability” is defined in New Zealand’s disability discrimination laws

Human Rights Act 1993, s 21(1)(h)

The Human Rights Act, which protects you against discrimination, is one of the key laws for disabled people. The Act includes a lengthy definition of “disability”, which covers a wide range of situations. The definition includes:

  • a physical disability or impairment
  • a physical illness
  • a psychiatric (mental) illness
  • an intellectual or psychological disability or impairment – like a learning or neurological disability
  • any other loss or abnormality of psychological, physiological, or anatomical structure or function
  • being reliant on a guide dog, wheelchair, or other remedial means
  • the presence in the body of organisms capable of causing illness – like being HIV positive.
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