It is against the law for employers to discriminate directly against a person because of their responsibilities to care for a family member. This includes caring for a spouse or de-facto partner, child, grandchild, brother, sister, parent or grandparent. There are some limited exemptions.

Discrimination happens when a person is treated less favourably than another person in the same or similar circumstances because that person has family responsibilities.

Example: An employee worked both weekday and weekend shifts. When the employee’s family responsibilities increased, the employee asked to work fewer weekend shifts. The employee was dismissed.. This could be discrimination.

It is good practice for employers to take positive steps to assist employees with family responsibilities to do their job and meet their family responsibilities. This could include changing the hours they work or being flexible around their starting or finishing times.