Equal Status Act, 2000

The Equal Status Act:

  • promotes equality;
  • prohibits certain kinds of discrimination (with some exceptions);
  • prohibits sexual harassment and harassment (on the discriminatory grounds).

This covers people who:   

  • buy goods
  • use services and facilities
  • attend educational establishments

The Act also:

  • prohibits victimisation;
  • provides that clubs which discriminate may lose their licence to sell alcohol.

This Act prohibits discrimination on the following grounds:

  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Family status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Race
  • Membership of the Traveller Community.

There are several significant exceptions in the Act. The most important is that anything mandated by an Act of the Oireachtas or EU law is allowed. These exceptions should not be allowed to unduly restrict the general prohibition on discrimination.

Discrimination is described as the treatment of a person in a less favourable way than another person is, has been or would be treated on any of the nine grounds listed above.

Making a Claim
Any person wishing to make a claim of discrimination must notify the person against whom the claim is being made in writing within two months of the incident. This notice must identify the nature of the claim and the intent to seek redress. If this written notification is not sent, a claim cannot be pursued.

If there is no reply or the reply is not satisfactory the complaint should be referred to the Office of the Director of Equality Investigations, 3 Clonmel Street, Dublin 2. This must be done within six months of the incident.

The Equality Authority can provide information and may, at its discretion, where the case has strategic importance, provide a legal service by assisting people bringing claims.

External link to legislation: