Jobs, shops, flats and other areas of life where discrimination is illegal
Jobs and employment
Applying for jobs
If you’re qualified for the relevant job, it’s illegal for an employer to refuse or fail to hire you on any of the illegal grounds of discrimination, or to offer you or hire you on less favourable pay or work conditions than other people with similar qualifications. This applies whether the employer is a private business or a government organisation.
Advertising, application forms and interviews
It’s illegal for employers to publish or display any advertising that indicates they intend to discriminate illegally. It’s also illegal for a potential employer to give you a job application form or to ask you questions that indicate they will discriminate illegally.
Questions about criminal convictions
It’s not illegal for an employer to ask if you have a criminal record. However, you have the right, in some situations, not to tell employers about your criminal convictions. To be able to do this you must not have had any convictions in the last seven years, and you must have never been sentenced to prison (see “The clean slate scheme” in the chapter “The criminal courts”). This means that even if the employer asks you directly, you can tell them that you have no criminal record.
Being discriminated against in your current job
It’s illegal for your boss to discriminate against you in any of the following ways:
- offering you or employing you on less favourable conditions than those offered or granted to other people with the same or similar qualifications
- disadvantaging you at work when other employees aren’t treated the same way
- dismissing you or making you retire or resign.
Those protections apply to contract workers as well as to employees.
Note: If your boss discriminates against you because of your gender, you can either take a claim against them to the Employment Relations Authority (see the chapter “Resolving employment problems”) or complain to the Human Rights Commission (see “Taking action: What you can do if you’re discriminated against” later in this chapter).
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