Equity Claims

There are two distinct pieces of legislation in place in Ireland which set out important rights for people and specifically outlaw discrimination when it occurs. The Employment Equality Acts 1998- 2011 and the Equal Status Acts 2000- 2011, outlaw discrimination in employment, vocational training, advertising, collective agreements, the provision of goods and services. Specifically, goods and services include professional or trade services; health services; access to accommodation and education; facilities for banking, transport and cultural activities.

Under the equality legislation discrimination based on any one of 9 distinct grounds is unlawful. These grounds are:

  • Gender
  • Civil status
  • Family status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion
  • Age (does not apply to a person under 16)
  • Disability
  • Race
  • Membership of the Traveller community.

What is discrimination?

Discrimination is defined as less favourable treatment. A person is said to be discriminated against if he or she is treated less favourably than another is, has been or would be treated in a comparable situation on any of the 9 grounds. To establish direct discrimination, a direct comparison must be made, for example, in the case of disability discrimination the comparison must be between a person who has a disability and another who has not, or between persons with different disabilities.
Indirect discrimination occurs when practices or policies that do not appear to discriminate against one group more than another actually have a discriminatory impact. It can also happen where a requirement that may appear non-discriminatory.

The Equality Tribunal investigates or mediates claims of unlawful discrimination under the equality legislation. A Tribunal mediator will facilitate parties to reach a mediated agreement which is legally binding. Where parties object to mediation, a case will be heard by a Tribunal Equality Officer, who will hear evidence from both parties before issuing a legally binding decision.