Discrimination on a Licensed Premises

Public or private providers of a ‘’service’’ to the public, or provider of goods to the public cannot discriminate against a person who comes to use the service or goods of a business, organisation, club, educational establishment, for example.

What happens though if Discrimination takes place on a Licensed premises?

Firstly, we will give some information regarding what discrimination is under the Equal Status Act of 2000.

licensed premises discrimination

Discrimination Under the Equal Status Act:

Section 3 states:

Discrimination shall be taken to occur where

(a) on any of the grounds specified in subsection (2) (in this Act referred to as “the discriminatory grounds”) which exists at present or previously existed but no longer exists or may exist in the future, or which is imputed to the person concerned, a person is treated less favourably than another person is, has been or would be treated,

(b) (i) a person who is associated with another person is treated, by virtue of that association, less favourably than a person who is not so associated is, has been or would be treated, and

(ii) similar treatment of that person on any of the discriminatory grounds would, by virtue of paragraph (a), constitute discrimination,


(c)  (i) a person is in a category of persons who share a common characteristic by reason of which discrimination may, by virtue of paragraph (a), occur in respect of those persons.

What are the Discriminatory Grounds

a) that one is male and the other is female (Gender ground),

b) that they are of different civil status (the Civil Status Ground),

c) that one has family status and the other does not or that one has a different family status from the other (the Family Status Ground),

d) that they are of different sexual orientation (Sexual Orientation Ground),

e) that one has a different religious belief from the other, or that one has a religious belief and the other has not (the Religion Ground),

f) subject to subsection (3), that they are of different ages (Age Ground),

g) that one is a person with a disability and the other either is not or is a person with a different disability (Disability Ground),

h) that they are of different race, colour, nationality or ethnic or national origins (Ground of Race),

i) that one is a member of the Traveller community and the other is not (the Traveller Community Ground),

j) that one—

(i) has in good faith applied for any determination or redress provided for in Part II or III,

(ii) has attended as a witness before the Authority adjudication officer or a court in connection with any inquiry or proceedings under this Act,

(iii) has given evidence in any criminal proceedings under this Act,

(iv) has opposed by lawful means an act which is unlawful under this Act, or

(v) has given notice of an intention to take any of the actions specified in subparagraphs (i) to (iv),

and the other has not (the “victimisation ground”).

Discrimination Claim Under the Equal Status Act

If a person is discriminated against by a service provider mentioned above, a complainant can seek redress by making a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission.

Discrimination taking place in a Licensed Premises

If the discrimination arose in a licenced premises, however, then the respondent-owner of the licenced premises, if a complaint is referred to the Workplace Relations Commission under the Equal Status Act, or Industrial Relations Act, may cite reliance on Section 19 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003 which states:

(2) A person who claims that prohibited conduct has been directed against him or her on, or at the point of entry to, licensed premises may apply to the District Court for redress.

“prohibited conduct” means discrimination against, or sexual harassment or harassment of, or permitting the sexual harassment or harassment of a person in contravention of Part II (Discrimination and Related Activities) of the Act of 2000 on, or at the point of entry to, licensed premises.

District Court Order

The District Court can order the following address:

(3) On such an application the Court may, if satisfied that the applicant is entitled to redress, make such order as it considers appropriate in the circumstances, including one or more of the following orders:

(a) an order for compensation for the effects of the prohibited conduct to be paid to the applicant by the licensee,

(b) an order that the licensee of the licensed premises concerned take a course of action specified in the order,

(c) an order for temporary closure of the premises in accordance with section 9, which section shall have effect, with the necessary modifications, in relation to the order.

If the person discriminated against in a licenced premises takes the case to the Workplace Relations Commission, and not the District Court, they may lose the case in the Workplace Relations as the Adjudication-decision making officer may justifiably conclude they don’t have jurisdiction to deal with the complaint and that the correct forum for the dispute is the District Court.

The complainant may have gone to the expense and waste of time by going to the wrong forum to deal with this type of case.

Disclaimer for this Discrimination Article

Please be advised that the above-mentioned material is intended as an overview and as a broad out-line of the topic discussed. It should not be considered as complete and comprehensive legal advice, nor act as an appropriate substitute. Legal advice should be obtained from a solicitor prior to relying on anything in this article.

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.

Discrimination on a Licensed Premises

Employment Law Articles

Roger Cleary

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