The question is appropriate to the Minister for Justice and Equality who has policy responsibility for employment equality legislation and inequality in the workplace.
The Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015 outlaw discrimination in a wide range of employment and employment-related areas. These include recruitment and promotion; equal pay; working conditions; training or experience; dismissal and harassment including sexual harassment. The legislation defines discrimination as treating one person in a less favourable way than another person based on any of the following 9 grounds:
- Gender: this means man, woman or transsexual;
- Civil status: includes single, married, separated, divorced, widowed people, civil partners and former civil partners;
- Family status: this refers to the parent of a person under 18 years or the resident primary carer or parent of a person with a disability;
- Sexual orientation: includes gay, lesbian, bisexual and heterosexual;
- Religion: means religious belief, background, outlook or none;
- Age: this does not apply to a person aged under 16;
- Disability: includes people with physical, intellectual, learning, cognitive or emotional disabilities and a range of medical conditions;
- Race: includes race, skin colour, nationality or ethnic origin; or
- Membership of the Traveller community.
The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the Workplace Relations Commission are two separate organisations that work to ensure equality at work.
The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) is a statutory body set up to provide information to the public on human rights and equality legislation. The IHREC can also act as an advocate on behalf of individuals and support them in defending their rights under the Employment Equality Acts, including the provision of legal assistance. It operates under the aegis of the Department of Justice and Equality.
The Workplace Relations Commission is the place to bring a discrimination claim under the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015. It investigates or mediates claims of unlawful discrimination under equality legislation, and it operates under the aegis of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.