Employment Discrimination


employment discrimination

employment discrimination

What are the Employment Equality Acts for ?

The Acts outlaw discrimination in work related areas such as pay, vocational training, access to employment, work experience and promotion. Cases involving harassment and victimization at work are also covered by the Acts.

Anyone who feels they have been discriminated against may refer a complaint to The Equality Tribunal through Workplace Relations Customer Services within 6 months of the occurrence of the act of discrimination. The Director of the Tribunal may extend this to a maximum of 12 months, if the complainant shows that there is reasonable cause to do so.


Discrimination, which can be both direct and indirect, occurs when you are treated less favourably than another person is, has been or would be treated because of the grounds set out below:

9 Grounds for discrimination that are outlawed

  • Gender
  • Civil status
  • Family status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religious belief
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Race colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins
  • Membership of the Traveller community


What is the Equality Tribunal ?

The Equality Tribunal is the independent state body set up to investigate or mediate complaints of discrimination.

What is the procedure for making a complaint ?

Complaints of discrimination in relation to employment must normally be referred to the Equality Tribunal within 6 months. A complainant must complete the complaint form.

What are the time limits for referring a complaint to the Equality Tribunal ?

A claim of discrimination (except equal pay) must normally be referred to the Tribunal within 6 months of the date of the alleged incident, or of the most recent incident if there is more than one.

The Director of the Tribunal may extend time to a maximum of 12 months from the date of the last incident, if a complainant applies to do so and shows that there is reasonable cause to extend time. For more details, visit the links below:

Is it possible to make a complaint on more than one ground ?

Yes. If a person that he/she has been discriminated on more than one of the nine grounds he/she may indicate each of the grounds that are applicable in the particular case. The Equality Officer will consider each of them.

Is it possible to make a complaint on behalf of my son/daughter ( aged under 18?) 

Yes. If a child is too young to make a complaint, the parent or guardian can make a complaint on their behalf. Please state in the form the child's name and age, how they were discriminated against, the name and relationship to them, and that a claim is being made on their behalf. You can then sign the form for them. Evidence still needs to be given at the hearing about what happened, but your child will not be asked to give evidence if they are too young to do so.

What happens at the hearing ?  

The Equality Officer considers all of the evidence from both sides at the hearing. Each side is given an opportunity to put questions to the other and the Equality Officer will also question the parties on their evidence and on other points which may arise in the course of the hearing.

Having considered all of the evidence, the Equality Officer will issue a written Decision to both sides after the hearing.

The Tribunal is legally obliged to publish Decisions. However in certain sensitive cases, the parties may ask to have their names withheld.

Is it possible to bring witnesses to the investigation ? 

Yes, if needed. witnesses should have relevant evidence to give. The Equality Officer should be informed in advance of the names of the witnesses. If necessary, an Equality Officer has the power to order a witness with relevant evidence to attend.

Will the Equality Tribunal enforce any award made ? 

No. It may be necessary for the applicant to seek enforcement from the Circuit Court.

Can Tribunal decisions be appealed ?

Yes, all Tribunal Decisions can be appealed by either party. There is a strict time limit of 42 days from date of the Decision of the Equality Officer. This time limit cannot be extended.

Is an appeal to the High Court an option ?

Yes. An appeal to the High Court is an option in relation to a point of law.

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Due care has been taken in the publication of this article and we do not accept legal liability as a result of reliance on any material covered in the above article.