Discrimination at the Workplace

Equality Law & Discrimination at the Workplace Ireland 

Discrimination at the workplace occurs when you are treated less favourably than another person is, has been, or would be treated because of either your:

  • Gender
  • Civil status
  • Family status
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Race (including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins) or
  • Membership of the Traveller community. 
discrimination at the workplace


The term victimisation is used to describe unfair treatment of a worker by an employer because of some action the worker has taken.

The Workplace Relations Commission also deals with complaints of discrimination on the grounds of gender under the Pensions Act 1990 – 2009 in relation to occupational benefit or pensions schemes. It cannot deal with complaints about licensed premises (for example, pubs) and registered clubs (for example, some golf clubs are registered clubs).

To pursue a complaint about a licensed premises or registered club you must take your case to the District Court.

Time Limits – Discrimination at the Workplace Cases Ireland 

Complaints under the Employment Equality Acts must be brought within 6 months of the act of discrimination. You should make your complaint using the complaint form on the Workplace Relations Commission website. The completed form should be returned to Workplace Relations Commission.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is discrimination in the workplace? / What would be considered discrimination?

Discrimination is where one person is treated less favourably than another person is, has been or would be treated in a comparable situation on any of the grounds referred to the discriminatory grounds. It is must be because of one of the grounds mentioned in the above paragraph.

So, for example, the discrimination must be related to one of the grounds such as a disability. If one was treated unfairly at work which was connected to a disability, such as, epilepsy, this would constitute discrimination which is not permitted by the legislation and exposes an employer to potential liability if it arises.

What are 3 examples of discrimination?

  1. If a female employee is treated unfairly due to gender;
  2. If an employee with a disability is treated unfairly which is connected to having the disability;
  3. If an employee is treated unfairly due to their race.
What is an example of indirect discrimination?

Indirect discrimination can be insidious but is wholly unacceptable, but a difficultly with it is it can be less clearly visible.

If, for example, people at work are treated the same, but the effect of the treatment on the employee with a disability, for example, is unfair which is based on the protected characteristic.

What is not considered discrimination?

If you were treated unfairly which is not related to one of the specified grounds.

Can you be sacked for having a disability ?

This evidently should not happen and the employee can challenge an employers decision under the Equality Acts for discriminatory dismissal, if such an event happens.

DISCLAIMER –Discrimination at the Workplace 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.

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 at the Workplace

Employment Law Articles

Roger Cleary

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