Equality

Questions Frequently Asked about Discrimination

  1. What discrimination is unlawful under Irish equality legislation?
  2. Is discrimination allowed in advertising?
  3. If I feel I have been unlawfully discriminated against, how may I make a complaint?
  4. How may I make a complaint about maternity leave, carer’s leave, adoptive leave or parental leave?
  5. If I feel I have been unfairly dismissed, how may I make a complaint?
  6. Who can advise me in making a complaint of unlawful discrimination?
  7. What redress is available under Equal Status Act 2000/Employment Equality Act 1998?
  8. How do I contact the Equality Authority and the Equality Tribunal?
  9. Is different treatment on the basis of risk allowed in relation to insurance, annuities, pensions etc.?
  10. Is it lawful to provide a service to persons of one gender only?

 

1. What discrimination is unlawful under Irish equality legislation?

Irish equality legislation prohibits direct and indirect discrimination in the area of employment and in the supply of and access to goods, facilities and services, on any of the following nine grounds - gender, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race or membership of the Traveller community.

Discrimination in the area of employment is prohibited by the Employment Equality Acts 1998 and 2004. The Acts cover all aspects of work including recruitment and promotion, the right to equal pay, conditions of employment, training or experience. If you are an employee, or trying to get a job and you feel you are discriminated against unlawfully, on any of the nine prohibited grounds, you can make a claim under these Acts.

Discrimination outside the workplace is prohibited by the Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2004. If you are trying to access goods or services and you feel you are discriminated against unlawfully, on any of the nine prohibited grounds, you can make a claim under these Acts. They cover many different goods and services, including access to a place, facilities for banking, entertainment, cultural activities or transport, professional or trade services, health services, access to education and accommodation.

The Equality Authority is tasked with providing information and advice to any person who feels that he or she has been discriminated against on any of the grounds covered in the equality legislation, whether in an employment or non-employment area.

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2. Is discrimination allowed in advertising?

Discrimination in advertising is prohibited under equality legislation in the area of employment and access to employment and in the supply of and access to goods, facilities and services.

The publication or display of an advertisement which indicates an intention to discriminate, harass, sexually harass, or might reasonably be understood as indicating such an intention is prohibited.

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3. If I feel I have been unlawfully discriminated against, how may I make a complaint?

If you feel that you have been discriminated against, it is open to you to make a complaint to the Equality Tribunal. Should you wish to seek assistance in making a complaint, you can do so by contacting the Equality Authority.

The complainant must be the person affected by the discriminatory act. The Director of the Equality Tribunal has the power under the Equal Status Acts to refer the case for mediation, or to investigate and decide the case. If the Director finds that there was discrimination, she may will make an order for compensation for the effects of the discrimination and/or order a specified course of action to be taken.

All decisions of the Equality Tribunal may be appealed to the Circuit Court, by either the complainant or the respondent. A decision of the Director, or a mediation settlement which has not been complied with, may also be enforced through the Circuit Court.

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4. How may I make a complaint about maternity leave, carer’s leave, adoptive leave or parental leave?

If you have a complaint about entitlements such as maternity leave, carer's leave, adoptive leave or parental leave, you should apply to the Rights Commissioner Service.

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5. If I feel I have been unfairly dismissed, how may I make a complaint?

If you are claiming unfair dismissal, you should apply to the Rights Commissioner Service if you and your employer agree. If either of you objects to a Rights Commissioner hearing, you should apply to the Employment Appeals Tribunal.

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6. Who can advise me in making a complaint of unlawful discrimination?

We regret that the Department is not in a position to give legal advice.

Should you wish to seek assistance in making a complaint of unlawful discrimination, you can do so by contacting the Equality Authority. The Authority is tasked with providing information and advice to any person who feels that he or she has been discriminated against on any of the grounds covered in the equality legislation, whether in an employment or non-employment area.

The Equality Tribunal cannot advise on the merits of a case. Because the Tribunal is responsible for hearing and deciding equality cases, and must remain impartial, it cannot advise either party to a claim.

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7. What redress is available under Equal Status Act 2000/Employment Equality Act 1998?

The redress available in employment cases is one or more of the following, as appropriate:

  • an order for equal treatment
  • an order for equal pay (plus arrears where appropriate)
  • an order for compensation of up to 2 years pay (up to €12,697 for someone who is not an employee of the respondent)
  • an order for a specified person to take a specified action

 

In Equal Status cases, the redress available is either, or both, of the following, as appropriate:

  • an order for compensation of up to €6,349
  • an order for a specified person to take a specified action

All decisions and recommendations by the Equality Tribunal are published on its website, www.equalitytribunal.ie

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8. How do I contact the Equality Authority and the Equality Tribunal?

Contact details for the Equality Authority and the Equality Tribunal are as follows:

Equality Authority
2 Clonmel St.
Dublin 2
Lo-Call: 1850 245 245
E-mail: info@equality.ie
Website: www.equality.ie

Equality Tribunal
3 Clonmel St.
Dublin 2
Lo-Call: 1850 344 424
E-mail: info@equalitytribunal.ie
Website: www.equalitytribunal.ie

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9. Is different treatment on the basis of risk allowed in relation to insurance, annuities, pensions etc.?

In relation to annuities, pensions, insurance policies and other matters related to the assessment of risk, differences in treatment are permitted only if they can be justified by actuarial or statistical data from a source on which it is reasonably to rely, or other relevant underwriting or commercial factors, and the difference in treatment is reasonable having regard to the data or other relevant factors.

The Equality Authority is tasked with providing information and advice to any person who feels that he or she has been unlawfully discriminated against on any of the grounds covered in the equality legislation, whether in an employment or non-employment area.

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10. Is it lawful to provide a service to persons of one gender only?

The Employment Equality Act 1998 as amended by the Equality Act 2004, prohibits discrimination in relation to employment on nine grounds namely, gender, marital status, family status, race, age, disability, religious belief, sexual orientation and membership of the Traveller community. The Equal Status Acts 2000–2004 prohibit discrimination in relation to the same nine grounds and give protection against discrimination in non-workplace areas and thus complement the Employment Equality Acts 1998 and 2004. There is scope within the Acts to cater for the needs of a particular gender.

The Equality Authority provides information and advice to the public in relation to the operation of the above mentioned Acts. The Authority should be in a position to offer advice and answer questions you may have in relation to equality legislation.

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