Employment Equality and Equal Status


The Employment Equality Acts 1998 (as amended) prohibit discrimination in a number of areas such as pay, vocational training, access to employment, work experience and promotion.

The Acts apply to:

  • full-time, part-time and temporary employees
  • public and private sector employment
  • vocational training bodies
  • employment agencies
  • trade unions, professional and trade bodies

The Acts also extend in certain circumstances to self-employed people, partners in partnerships, and state and local authority office-holders.

Specifically, the Acts prohibit discrimination in respect of:

  • recruitment and promotion
  • pay
  • working conditions
  • training or experience
  • dismissal and harassment
  • sexual harassment

Discrimination, treating one person in a less favourable way than another person, is prohibited on the following grounds:

  • gender (man, woman or transsexual)
  • civil status (single, married, separated, divorced, widowed people, civil partners and former civil partners)
  • family status
  • sexual orientation
  • religious belief
  • age (does not apply anyone aged under 16)
  • disability
  • race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins
  • membership of the Traveller community

The Equal Status Acts 2000 (as amended) prohibit discrimination in the provision of goods and services, the provision of accommodation and access to education, on any of the nine grounds set out below. The Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 has inserted a tenth ground in the provision of goods and provision of accommodation only; the “housing assistance” ground. The Acts outlaw discrimination in all services that are generally available to the public whether provided by the state or private sector for example, banking, insurance, grants, transport and travel services.

Our Tully Rinckey employment law solicitors can assist employers with drafting and enforcing employment equality policies and procedures to ensure that they protect the best interests of the employer and employee. We can also initiate or defend any employment equality or equal status claims before the Workplace Relations Commission or appeals to the Labour Court.

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