Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act 1977

15 Employer providing certain services must accommodate conscientious objection of applicant or employee unless it would cause unreasonable disruption

(1)

An employer that provides any of the services specified in section 14(1) may not take any of the following actions on the basis that an applicant for employment, or an employee, who is qualified for work in connection with the provision of those services, has a conscientious objection:

(a)

refuse or omit to employ the applicant for work that is available; or

(b)

offer or afford the applicant or the employee less favourable terms of employment, conditions of work, superannuation or other fringe benefits, and opportunities for training, promotion, and transfer than are made available to applicants or employees of the same or substantially similar capabilities employed in the same or substantially similar work; or

(c)

terminate the employment of the employee in circumstances in which the employment of other employees employed in the same or substantially similar work would not be terminated; or

(d)

subject the employee to any detriment in circumstances in which other employees employed in the same or substantially similar work would not be subjected to such detriment; or

(e)

retire the employee, or to require or cause the employee to retire or resign.

(2)

However, if accommodating an applicant’s or employee’s conscientious objection would unreasonably disrupt the employer’s provision of health services, the employer may take any of the actions described in subsection (1).

(3)

Accommodating an applicant’s or employee’s conscientious objection may include arranging for the duties in respect of which the applicant or employee has an objection to be carried out by an existing employee.

(4)

An applicant or employee who alleges that an employer has contravened this section may make a complaint under the Human Rights Act 1993 as if the complaint were a complaint of unlawful discrimination under section 22 of that Act.

(5)

If an applicant or employee who alleges that an employer has contravened this section is entitled to pursue a personal grievance under the Employment Relations Act 2000, the applicant or employee may take either, but not both, of the following steps:

(a)

apply to the Employment Relations Authority for the resolution of the grievance under that Act; or

(b)

make a complaint under the Human Rights Act 1993.

(6)

In this section, employer has the meaning given in section 2 and also includes—

(a)

the person for whom work is done by an independent contractor; and

(b)

the person for whom work is done by contract workers under a contract between that person and the person who supplies the contract workers; and

(c)

the person for whom work is done by an unpaid worker.

Section 15: replaced, on 24 March 2020, by section 8 of the Abortion Legislation Act 2020 (2020 No 6).