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Family or Marital Status

Family status refers to the status of being in a parent and child relationship. Marital status is defined in the Act as “the status of being married, single, widowed, divorced, separated, or living with a person in a conjugal relationship.”
Consider these scenarios:

Scenario 1: Audrey has three children. A less experienced, less qualified woman in her company is promoted. She is single with no children. Audrey believes that she was overlooked for the promotion because company officials concluded that she would not be as dedicated to the job because she has children.

Scenario 2: Richard and Jennifer have reservations to stay at a bed and breakfast When they arrive, the proprietor notices that they have different last names. He indicates that he has a policy that unmarried couples cannot share a room in his home.

In scenario one, Audrey could be experiencing discrimination in the area of employment on the basis of family status. 
In scenarion two, Richard and Jennifer could be experiencing discrimination in the area of accommodation on the basis of marital status.


Employment and Volunteering
The provisions of the Act that prohibit discrimination in employment on the basis of marital status do not always apply to religious or ethnic non-profit organizations that are operated primarily to foster the welfare of a particular religious or ethnic group. For example, a non-profit religious organization that does not believe in divorce may not wish to employ a divorced individual as a marriage counsellor. However, the organization must use precaution when setting up such requirements by clearly establishing that being of a certain marital status is a genuine occupational qualification.

Also, employers may not be discriminating if they refuse to hire a family member of an existing employee where the employee is in a position to influence the hiring or the working relationship would create a conflict of interest.

Special Programs
The Commission may approve programs of government, private organizations or individuals designed to promote the welfare of certain groups, such as programs to assist families with children. Requests to approve programs must be made in writing to the Commission.

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