Political belief or activity - Workplace

It is against the law to discriminate against anyone in the workplace because of their actual or assumed political beliefs or activities.

Employees are protected from discrimination at all stages of employment including recruitment, workplace terms and conditions and dismissal

Political belief or activity is where a person holds, or does not hold, a lawful political belief, or whether they participate, or refuse to take part, in a lawful political activity.

This includes holding particular political beliefs, being a member (or refusing to join) a political party or participating in political action.

Example of political belief or activity discrimination

At a job interview Joe is asked if he is a member of a conservation organisation. When he says no, the interviewer abruptly ends the discussion and tells him that all employees must share the beliefs of the employer.

Are there any exceptions?

The Equal Opportunity Act 2010 includes some general exceptions. This means that discrimination may not be against the law in particular circumstances. 

An employer may also discriminate on the basis of political belief or activity where the job being offered is as a political adviser for a government minister or work for a political party, electorate office or any similar employment.

Complaints

Employers may be vicariously liable for their employees’ acts of discrimination or sexual harassment. Employers can also be directly liable. Find out more about who is liable for discrimination and harassment.

Employers also have a positive duty to eliminate discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation as far as possible.

Complaints of discrimination made to the Commission are resolved through a process called conciliation. Find out more about our process for resolving complaints.

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