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Marital or relationship status discrimination

It is unlawful to discriminate against a person because of his or her marital or relationship status.

This includes people who are:

  • single
  • married
  • in a de facto relationship
  • separated
  • divorced
  • widowed
  • or never married.

It also includes people in same-sex relationships.

What is relationship status discrimination?

Discrimination happens when a person is treated less favourably than another person in a similar situation because of their different marital or relationship status.

Unlawful discrimination also happens when there is an unreasonable requirement that is the same for everyone but has an unfair impact on people of a particular relationship status.

Example: A company that employees people to work in remote locations only offers weekend leave to married staff so they can visit their families, but does not offer the same leave to workers who are single or in de facto relationships.

The law

Both state and federal laws protect people against discrimination based on their relationship status.

In Queensland, the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person because of their relationship status.

Relationship status means whether a person is:

  • single
  • married
  • married to another person, but living separately and apart from the other person
  • divorced
  • widowed
  • a defacto partner (including a same sex defacto partner)
  • a registered partner

How We Can Help

Our team of employment lawyers and industrial advocates have extensive experience fighting relationship status discrimination claims.

We have a proven track record negotiating substantial compensation for our clients who have experienced discrimination based on their relationship status.

We work in the Human Rights Commission and any other relevant commission or tribunal.

We can advise your of your best options moving forward to ensure you achieve the outcome you are looking for.

Make no mistake, we will not give up fighting until we achieve justice for you.


If you are dismissed from employment because of your relationship status, you only have 21-days from the date of dismissal to file a claim, so don’t delay!

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LAST UPDATED: March 2022

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