What is the Sex Discrimination Act?

What is sexual orientation?

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What is sexual orientation?

Sexual orientation means a person’s sexual orientation towards:

  • persons of the same sex; or

  • persons of a different sex; or

  • persons of the same sex and persons of a different sex.

Terms commonly used to describe a person’s sexual orientation include gay, lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, straight and heterosexual. The SDA does not use these labels, as they may be inaccurate. However, the SDA is intended to protect people with these sexual orientations from discrimination.

What is sexual orientation discrimination?

Direct sexual orientation discrimination happens when a person is treated less favourably than a person with a different sexual orientation would be treated in the same or similar circumstances. For example, it may be direct sexual orientation discrimination for an employer not to promote an employee because it has become aware that he is bisexual.

Indirect sexual orientation discrimination occurs when there is a requirement or practice that is the same for everyone but has an unfair effect on people of a particular sexual orientation. For example, a company policy that offers benefits to an employee’s husband or wife, such as discounted travel or gym membership, may disadvantage employees with a same-sex partner because of their sexual orientation and/or relationship status.

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