Relationship status case studies

The relationship status case summaries are grouped into two categories: court and tribunal decisions, and conciliated outcomes.

Court and tribunal decisions are made after all the evidence is heard, including details of loss and damage. The full text of court and tribunal decisions is available from:

Conciliated outcomes are where the parties have reached an agreement through conciliation at the Queensland Human Rights Commission.

Conciliated outcomes

Husband needed to get a quote

Type of outcome Conciliation
Contravention Discrimination
Attribute Relationship status
Area Provision of goods or services
Outcome Apology
Monitoring customer calls
Call centre manual updated
Year 2012-13

Summary: A woman wanted a quote to get her roof fixed and contacted a roofing company to talk to their representative. He asked her questions about her relationship, and told her that she could not get a quote for roofing without her husband present.

At conference the company apologised and explained that their representative should only ask whether she was a homeowner. They confirmed that it was not company policy to ask a woman to have her husband present and explained that the representative was no longer with the company.

The company agreed to make changes including monitoring inbound and outbound calls and including a new section in the call centre manual cautioning staff against asking personal questions of customers, and apologised to the complainant.

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Relationship status and parental status discrimination in pre-work

Type of outcome Conciliation
Contravention Discrimination
Attribute Relationship status
Area Applying for work
Outcome Removed personal information from employment application forms
Sought advice about recruitment practices

Summary: A woman alleged that she had been requested to provide details on an employment application form about her date of birth, medical history, marital status, number of children and the ages of her children.

The Commission contacted the respondents and advised them that it was unlawful to request information on which unlawful discrimination might be based, and that the Commission had received a complaint about their employment application forms.

The respondents said they were unaware that it was unlawful to request this information and that the application form was one that had been used by the company for many years without being reviewed.

The complaint resolved when the company agreed to remove the personal questions from their employment application forms. Although not requested by the complainant, the company also forwarded her a letter of apology, and sought the Commission's advice about recruitment practices and policy implementation.

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