In employment equality cases, other than those involving dismissal, a complainant must refer a complaint to the Office of the Director of Equality Investigations (ODEI — the equality tribunal) within six months of the alleged incident or within six months of the most recent of a series of such incidents. An extension of this period to twelve months may be granted where exceptional circumstances prevented referral within the normal period.
In equal status cases, the complainant must notify the respondent (discriminating party) of his or her intention to refer a complaint to the ODEI, within two months of the alleged act of discrimination for the complaint to be valid. If the complainant can show that there was an exceptional reason for failing to notify the respondent on time, the timeframe may be extended to four months. The claim for redress must then be lodged with the ODEI within a period of six months of the occurrence of the prohibited conduct, however, this period may be extended to twelve months in exceptional circumstances.