Article Title:The Human Rights Act 1993
Category:People
Author or Credit:GayNZ.com
Published on:31st July 2006 - 05:10 pm
Published by:GayNZ.com
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Story ID:4709
Text:New Zealand's Human Rights Act provides protection against unlawful discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. The [New Zealand] Human Rights Act 1993 makes it unlawful to discriminate, either directly or indirectly, against a person on the grounds of their sexual orientation. This applies in the areas of employment, access to public places, provision of goods and services, accommodation, educational facilities and government or public sector activities. Sexual orientation is defined as a heterosexual, homosexual, lesbian or bisexual orientation. Relatives or associates are also protected against unlawful discrimination. Direct discrimination This occurs when a person of one particular sexual orientation is treated less favourably than a person of another sexual orientation in the same or similar circumstances. It also occurs if a person is discriminated against on the presumption of a particular sexual orientation. Indirect discrimination When a rule or practice exists which, on the face of it, appears neutral, but in fact has a detrimental effect on people of a particular sexual orientation, indirect discrimination is said to have taken place. Areas of unlawful discrimination Employment - it is unlawful to discriminate against employees, job applicants, voluntary workers, people seeking work through employment agents, and contract workers. Discrimination by partnerships, professional or trade associations, qualifying bodies and vocational training bodies is also unlawful. Accommodation - landlords and real estate agents cannot refuse a person seeking residential or business accommodation because of that person's sexual orientation. Also, they cannot discriminate in this way because of the sexual orientation of a person's relative or associate. Equally, it is unlawful to provide less favourable terms and conditions in accommodation, or to place a low priority on a person's application for accommodation, because of their sexual orientation. This applies to buying, renting or leasing accommodation as well as staying in a hotel, motel or caravan park. Provision of goods and services - it is unlawful to withhold goods, services or facilities, or to provide them on less favourable terms or conditions, because of someone's sexual orientation. Goods and services include banking and insurance, and grants, loans, credit or finance. Services provided by doctors and other professionals are also included. Access to public places (including vehicles) - it is unlawful to refuse access to or use of a public place on the grounds of sexual orientation. Educational establishments - the Act also prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in educational establishments - e.g., it is unlawful to discriminate against a person seeking admission as a student. Exceptions to the areas above include: domestic employment in a private household where the duties of the position involve the promoting of religion, and the doctrine of the church in question confines the position to those of a particular sexual orientation employment as a counsellor or in the provision of counselling that is of a highly personal nature in the provision of shared accommodation disposal of an estate by will or charitable trust. What do you do if you think you have been discriminated against? Those who believe they have experienced discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation can ask for assistance from the Human Rights Commission. If the Commission considers that the complaint falls within the Act it may offer to mediate the dispute. The aim of mediation is to enable parties to try to settle the dispute. If settlement is not possible you may seek free legal representation from the Office of the Human Rights Proceedings. Any legal proceedings are heard by the Human Rights Review Tribunal which has the powers of a court. For further information contact the Human Rights Commission on their website, linked below.     GayNZ.com - 31st July 2006
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