Sort of a follow-up to Is it legal to preferentially hire men instead of women because women can get pregnant?

The idea is, women tend to be less comfortable with men seeing them naked than men are with women seeing them naked. Therefore, if I'm operating a hospital/clinic where nudity might be necessary, it's preferable for my patients' comfort to hire female nurses & doctors. Concretely, if I need an electrocardiogram performed, if I have female nurses then all my patients will be relatively comfortable; but if I have male nurses then my male patients will be fine but my female patients will not be so comfortable.

The answer in the linked question says it's legal if:

(2) (a) the duties of the position can be performed only by a person having particular physical attributes (other than attributes of strength or stamina) that are not possessed by persons of a different sex from the relevant sex;

However this sounds ambiguous to me: both men and women can perform electrocardiograms, but only women can do it such that female patients are comfortable.

  • The specifics of anti-discrimination laws vary a lot around the world, and so do cultural standards of what kind of interaction a person is expected to be comfortable with in a medical setting. You might want to add a jurisdiction.
    – Philipp
    Jan 15, 2020 at 10:14
  • Australia, then, since that's where the quoted law comes from.
    – Allure
    Jan 15, 2020 at 10:22
  • Does your clinic only or predominantly service females?
    – user6726
    Jan 15, 2020 at 17:10
  • @user6726 we can assume it has both male and female patients.
    – Allure
    Jan 16, 2020 at 4:12

2 Answers 2



If you are a hospital, medical practice etc. Being male or female is not an intrinsic requirement of a doctor or nurses job.


If you are an individual hiring care within your own reference because Australian sex discrimination law specifically excludes that.


It seems the answer is yes, i.e. it is legal.

Section 30 of the Australian 1984 Sex Discrimination Act discussing when it is lawful to discriminate based on sex:

(g) the occupant of the position is required to enter areas ordinarily used only by persons of the relevant sex while those persons are in a state of undress; or

  • 1
    I'm pretty sure this is an incorrect reading. The "relevant sex" clause refers to when you can hire people of a particular sex. This clause is saying that you can hire men preferentially if the job involves going into a space where men are undressed, and similarly for women. It's not saying that you can hire women only if the job requires going into some spaces where men are undressed and some spaces where women are undressed. Mar 23, 2020 at 13:33
  • @MichaelSeifert you could certainly be right. I genuinely don't know the answer to the question in the OP.
    – Allure
    Mar 23, 2020 at 23:24

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