What is the law relating to Equality & Discrimination in Ireland?

Equality and Discrimination Law is an area of ever-increasing importance and relevance, particularly in the context of the employment relationship. The law in the Republic of Ireland relevant to this area is largely set down in The Employment Equality Acts 1998-2011. These pieces of legislation deal specifically with discrimination in the workplace, and cover recruitment policies, equal pay, dismissal, harassment and training opportunities.

Despite its increasing significance, Discrimination Law is often misunderstood. In the interests of clarity, discrimination will occur when someone is treated less favourably than someone else on the grounds of their:

  • Gender
  • Family status
  • Civil status
  • Religion
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Race
  • Membership of the Traveller community

How Can I Avoid Equality Issues In My Business?

The most common issues you could face are complaints from your employees about differences in treatment or inappropriate behaviour at work.

These could include:

  • Differences in pay, benefits, or paid leave
  • Harassment and bullying
  • Inappropriate language
  • Inappropriate touching
  • An unfair recruitment or promotion decision or process
  • An unfair dismissal without proper reasoning or a proper dismissal process.

Being consistent in how you deal with these issues will make sure your employees know they are valued equally.

Sherwin O’Riordan LLP is a commercial law firm based in Dublin that provides advice across the commercial sphere including on matters concerning employment and discrimination law. We provide specialist advice and assistance to our clients and represent their interests in addressing discrimination in the workplace.

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