In the ACT it is against the law for someone to discriminate against you because of a characteristic that you have, or that someone thinks you have, in an area of public life such as employment, education, accommodation, provision of goods and services, clubs.

It is against the law for someone to discriminate against you because you are pregnant, because you plan to become pregnant, or because you could become pregnant. It is also against the law for someone to ask if you are pregnant, or if you may become pregnant, if they are planning to use this information to discriminate against you.

Examples of pregnancy discrimination

A woman who was pregnant was told by her boss that she could only keep working until her uniform stopped fitting.

A woman was told by her swimming squad coach that she would have to stop training until after she had the baby.

The real estate agent asked a woman if she planned to have a baby, because the landlord would not rent his apartment to an unmarried mother.

A woman asked for some adjustments to her duties because she was pregnant but her employer told her they could not be accommodated and she was dismissed.

After telling her supervisor she was pregnant a female lawyer working in a large firm was told her clients were being reallocated as she would not be able to retain them when she took maternity leave and they ‘may as well be reallocated now’.

A young woman was coming in late to work as she was unwell in the mornings due to pregnancy. She asked for a temporary later start time but her employer would not accommodate the request and she was dismissed.

A few months after advising her employer she was pregnant a woman in a senior executive role was dismissed as she was advised the company was restructuring and her role was no longer required.

Are there any exceptions?

There are some situations in which it is not unlawful to discriminate on the ground of pregnancy. These include when something is done to comply with an ACT law. It is not discrimination against men to give women special rights or privileges in relation to pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. This could include access to paid leave from work, or special facilities, such as a designated breastfeeding area.

It is also not discrimination to take special measures to meet the needs of pregnant women, or to ensure that pregnant women have equal opportunities with other people, as long as the measures are reasonable.

To find out more or make a complaint

For more information you can contact us.
To make a complaint please complete our complaint form.