Workplace Relations Commission


Racial discrimination


Discrimination on the ground of race is prohibited by law in the provision of goods and services (dealt with under the civil law Equal Status Acts) or in employment (dealt with under the civil law Employment Equality Acts). This legislation falls within the remit of the Minister for Justice and Equality. For the purpose of equality legislation the ground of race is defined as being of different race, colour, nationality or ethnic or national origins. Discrimination and harassment in relation to recruitment, conditions of employment and pay on nine grounds, including race, religious belief and membership of the Traveller community, are outlawed under the Employment Equality Acts 1998 to 2012. Discrimination and harassment on the same grounds in the supply of goods or services, education and housing are prohibited under the Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2012. All this legislation is available on the Irish Statute Book website.

Discrimination on the ground of race is also prohibited in relation to occupational pensions under the Pensions Act 1990, which falls within the remit of the Minister for Social Protection.

The equality legislation also permits complaints to be referred in respect of discrimination on any combination of one or more of the nine discriminatory grounds. Multiple grounds were specified in approximately one fifth to one quarter of complaints referred annually to the Equality Tribunal (the body formerly charged with investigating complaints of discrimination in employment and discrimination in the supply of goods and services).

The Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration monitors trends in racial discrimination. Statistics obtained from the Equality Tribunal (before it became part of the Workplace Relations Commission) on the number of cases taken before the Tribunal on the race ground each year are available here on this page of the OPMI website - http://www.integration.ie/website/omi/omiwebv6.nsf/page/statistics-RacistIncidentsstatistics-EqTribcasesdecisions-en

HISTORICAL SITUATION

The Statutory Equality Agencies

Two agencies were established under the equality legislation - the Equality Authority and the Equality Tribunal.

The Equality Authority's functions were to combat discrimination and promote equality of opportunity in the areas covered by equality legislation, to monitor and keep this legislation under review and to make recommendations to the Minister for change. The Equality Authority's powers included those of providing legal assistance to and taking cases on behalf of claimants under the Acts and conducting research on equality related issues, conducting equality reviews and action plans, preparing codes of practice, conducting inquiries.
    The Equality Authority operated a Public Information Centre providing information on equality legislation to members of the public. The Authority also took cases in its own name in certain circumstances.

    The Authority also supported public and private sector organisations to develop their organisational systems to promote equality and to combat discrimination. The Equality Authority helped to develop and operate a Workplace Diversity Initiative, funded by the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration, to support IBEC, Congress and local Chambers to promote diversity in the workplace.

    PRESENT SITUATION

    A new Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, formed by the merger of the Equality Authority and the Human Rights Commission, continues to provide advice and assistance to persons wishing to pursue complaints on the 10 grounds of discrimination unlawful under the Acts. It has enhanced powers and functions and will be able to provide advice and assistance on both equality and human rights issues in an integrated way.

    The Equality Tribunal has been replaced by the Workplace Relations Commission (formed by the merger of the Labour Relations Commission, Employment Appeals Tribunal and National Employment Rights Authority). Despite its name, it hears complaints under both the Employment Equality Acts and the Equal Status Acts. It is an independent statutory office which investigates or mediates complaints of unlawful discrimination. It operates in accordance with the principles of natural justice and its core values are impartiality, professionalism, accessibility and timeliness. The Commission has jurisdiction in all the areas covered by the Equality legislation, with the exception of service in licensed premises where claims of discrimination can be brought before the District Court under the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003.

    You can find information on how to make a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission under the Equal Status Acts at this link -
    http://www.equalitytribunal.ie/en/What_You_Should_Know/Equal_Status/Eq_Status.html

    You can find information on how to make a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission under the Employment Equality Acts at this link -
    http://www.equalitytribunal.ie/en/What_You_Should_Know/Employment_Equality/


    Statistics regarding complaints made on the race ground under the Employment Equality Acts 1998 -2012 and the Equal Status Acts 2000 - 2008 can be accessed here.

    Statistics on decisions given under the Acts can be accessed here.

      If you have experienced discrimination on the grounds of race in employment matters or in trying to access goods or services, you can contact this body for information:-

    Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission
    16-22 Green Street
    Dublin 7
    D07 CR20

    At this time IHREC is not in a position to accommodate drop-in callers to their offices - this is due to the ongoing refurbishments at 16-22, Green Street. Should you wish to raise an issue regarding equality/discrimination or human rights please contact their Public Information Centre by phone on 1 890 245545or by e –mail on publicinfo@ihrec.ie
    The Public Information Centre is open on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 10.30 – 12.30 and 14.30 – 16.30.

    Lo-call: 1 890 245545
    Tel: + 353 (0) 1 8589601
    Fax: + 353 (0) 1 8589609
    Email:info@ihrec.ie




    ^ Back to top