Actionable discrimination or inequality arises where a person is shown less favourable treatment on the basis of their:
- Gender (being male, female or transgender)
- Age (being young or being old)
- Disability (this is widely interpreted and can include illnesses)
- Race or Nationality (including ethnicity and skin colour)
- Membership of the Traveler Community
- Family Status (being a parent or care giver to a child or person with a disability, or being pregnant or breastfeeding)
- Civil Status (being married, single, cohabiting, divorced, separated, widowed or in a civil partnership)
- Sexual Orientation (being gay, straight, bisexual or asexual)
- Religious belief (all religions are protected and people are protected from being discriminated against for having no religious belief)
- Being in Receipt of Housing Assistance Payments (this protection only arises in your relationship with your landlord)
Actionable discrimination arises in the context of being treated differently that your colleagues at work or being treated unfavourably when accessing goods or services.
If you face discrimination or unequal treatment at work, you must show that you have been treated less favourably than one or more of your colleagues. If you are living with a disability, your employer is under a duty to make reasonable accommodation for you to be able to do your job.
If you experience inequality or discrimination in accessing goods or services, it does not matter if the goods or services were provided by a state body or a private company.
It does not matter if the goods or services are free or if you paid for them.
Services include healthcare, housing, education, transport, shops, financial institutions, recreational and social activities and professional services. Discrimination and unequal treatment can occur in many contexts.
If you are asked to leave a public place because you are breastfeeding, that is discrimination. If you are denied access to a public place because your wheelchair takes up too much space, that is discrimination. Inequality has many faces.
If you have experienced discrimination, you may lodge an action with the WRC in order to seek to recover damages or compensation for the discomfort, embarrassment, inconvenience or upset.
It is important to begin the process within 2 months of the last incident of discrimination.
The above is provided for information purposes and is not intended as legal advice. If you feel that you have been the subject of discrimination or inequality we, at Fitzsimons Redmond, would be happy to advise you on your next steps. Please contact us on 01-676 3257.
By Lisa Quinn O’Flaherty
Solicitor at Fitzsimons Redmond