South Australian legislation refers to 'association with a child', which includes breastfeeding, whereas Commonwealth legislation only refers to breastfeeding.
Association with a child covers situations where [Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA) s 85T(5)]:
- a person is breastfeeding or bottle feeding (or proposes to do so)
- a person is with a relative or friend who is breastfeeding or bottlefeeding (or with someone who proposes to do so)
- a person is or will be accompanied by a child
- a person is with a relative or friend who is or will be accompanied by a child.
The Commonwealth legislation specifically includes expressing milk in its definition of breastfeeding [s 7AA].
Areas of discrimination on the basis of association with a child under SA law
- Provision of goods or servicesIt is unlawful in South Australia to treat a person unfavourably in the area of provision of goods or services because they are accompanied by a child or have a responsibility to breastfeed or bottle feed a child.
- Rental accommodationIt is unlawful under the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA) and the Residential Tenancies Act 1995 (SA) [s 52] to refuse a person rental accomodation or to move a person's application down the list because they will be sharing the accommodation with a child.
- EducationIt is unlawful under the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA) to treat a female student unfavourably in her education because she is breastfeeding.
Areas of discrimination on the basis of breastfeeding under Commonwealth law
It is unlawful to discriminate based on the fact that a woman is breastfeeding in the areas of:
- provision of goods, services and facilities
- administration of Commonwealth laws and programs.
Making a complaint
Complaints can be made to the Australian Human Rights Commission or the Equal Opportunity Commission. There is no cost to lodge a complaint in either the Equal Opportunity Commission of South Australia or the Australian Human Rights Commission. For forms and guides on making a complaint see the websites of the Equal Opportunity Commission and the Australian Human Rights Commission.
For complaints relating to discrimination in employment, claims can may made to the Fair Work Commission, see the Employment chapter of the handbook on protected workplace rights: General Protections.
The Australian Human Rights Commissioner may decide not to take any action for complaints on acts committed more than 6 months previously.
The Equal Opportunity Commission normally requires a complaint to be made within 12 months of the event being complained of but can grant extensions of time.
General Protections claims relating to dismissal have a 21 day time limit (from the date of notice of dismissal) in the Fair Work Commission.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.