There has been a change in the law in relation to Human Rights and Equality. New legislation was enacted namely the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act, (2014) on the 1st of November, 2014 and it created a new body the “Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission” which has replaced both the Equality Authority and the Irish Human Rights Commission.
The functions of the new Commission are primarily to promote and protect human rights and equality and promote an understanding and awareness of their importance.
From a practical point of view whilst the objectives of the new Commission in relation to human rights are quite aspirational the area of equality sees a large volume of complaints in the area of equality and discrimination mainly relating to discrimination in employment, provision of goods and services, health services, access to accommodation and education etc.
The grounds of discrimination are:
- Civil status
- Family status
- Sexual orientation
- Age (does not apply to a person under 16)
- Membership of the travelling community
Any person who believes they have been discriminated against (this is defined as having received less favourable treatment than any other citizen from another individual organisation, institution or state body) can make a complaint within six months of the last act of discrimination. The Commission, following investigation of the complaint, has the power to make a compensation award to a complainant up to a limit of €15,000.00.
If you require advice in the area of human rights, equality and/or discrimination please consult O’Hara Solicitors, Cross Street, Athenry, Co. Galway for further assistance.
www.oharasolicitors.com Telephone 091-844045.