Can an employer refuse to offer me a job because of my sexual orientation?
No, but there are a limited number of situations where the Act says that the sexual orientation of a job applicant can be taken into account. The Act says sexual orientation means being heterosexual or homosexual or lesbian or bisexual.
What are the situations where the sexual orientation of a job applicant can be taken into account?
One is domestic employment in a private household:
see » Domestic employment
Another situation where the sexual orientation of a job applicant can be taken into account is where the job is that of a counsellor on highly personal matters such as sexual matters or the prevention of violence.
The sexual orientation of a person may also be taken into account in the ordination and engagement of clergy. There is a diversity of views between lawyers on the various legal issues, but provided the refusal to ordain or engage homosexual, lesbian or bisexual clergy can be properly described as a matter of religious belief in the relevant church, the Act does not forbid sexual orientation discrimination. In 2003 the Human Rights Commission published a discussion paper on the Act and gay and lesbian clergy which provides a full account of the issues. The paper can be found at:
or can be obtained by contacting the Commission telephone: 0800 496 877 (toll free) or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Can an employer ask me about my relationship with my next-of-kin or emergency contact person when this will have the effect of disclosing that I’m gay?
An employer should avoid asking questions about the relationship between the job applicant and the person nominated as next-of-kin or emergency contact person. Ideally next-of-kin information should be obtained when employment commences rather than at the earlier stages of the employment process.
Should I remove information from my CV that may disclose that I am a lesbian?
Exactly what you disclose is up to you. Being required to disclose your sexual orientation could breach the Act.
Some organisations collecting EEO data through workplace profile information may ask about sexual orientation to ensure the recruitment catchment is as diverse as possible. Employers should avoid asking questions or seeking information about the sexual orientation of job applicants unless they are collecting anonymous statistical data for EEO reporting or for profiling who responds to their job applications. If an employer is collecting data for such purposes it should ideally be collected on a form that is separate from the job application form.