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Get the Facts - Fact Sheet 3

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Get the Facts - Know your rights

Get the Facts kit


Indigenous Women and Pregnancy Discrimination

FACT SHEET 3: Pregnancy and Getting a Job

At a job interview you should be asked questions about
your ability to do the job, not about your family or
personal situation.

Example: Debbie went to a job interview as a
cadet journalist based in a country town. At the
interview she was asked if she was pregnant or
intended to have children. The newspaper editor
said that this was because the job would require
travel around the State and women with small
children would not be able to spend enough time
away from home. This is likely to be unlawful
discrimination.

There are a small number of situations where an
employer may be able to ask you personal questions
about whether you are pregnant or intend to have
children. This would only occur in a very small number
of situations where there is a health and safety hazard
in the workplace which creates a particular danger for
pregnant women.

Example: Leila applied for a job as an assistant at
a veterinarian's surgery and was asked if she was
pregnant. In this situation it could be important for
her employer to find out if she was pregnant
because there are a number of animal diseases
which can cause miscarriage such as
toxoplasmosis which is caught by handling cat
litter. It is important to note that she generally
cannot be refused employment in this situation,
even though she may be asked a question about
pregnancy at her interview, provided separate
arrangements can be made for Leila to do the job
-for example so that she does not have to handle
cat litter while she is pregnant.

Some State and Territory Government employees have
less protection from pregnancy discrimination when
they are applying for a job. If you have a problem when
you are applying for a job with a State or Territory
Government agency or you are already employed by a
State or Territory organisation, you should contact your
State anti-discrimination agency for advice or call
the Commission who can give you their details.

Probationary Employment

When you are first employed as an ongoing full time or
part time employee you may be placed on a
probationary period. This generally does not happen for
casual employees. A probationary period is the initial
period in a new job that allows you and your employer
to decide if the job is suitable for you.

Probationary periods last for a set period and you must
be informed before you start the job whether there is a
probationary period and what that period is. The length
of the probationary period will depend on what you
and your employer have agreed and can be from a day
up to 3 months or longer depending on the kind of
work you are doing. You must be paid for any work you
do during this period. Generally the law allows a new
employee to be dismissed more easily while they are on
probation.

Discrimination laws still apply to employees who are
on probation and you are still entitled to be treated like
any other employee even if you are pregnant or
breastfeeding.