Many countries have now introduced new types of legislation under which awards can be made. In Ireland, one of those areas is discrimination. There are provisions relating to discrimination in employment. Discrimination in “ordinary life” is also prohibited and the relevant act is the Equal Status Act 2000. Discrimination is defined in Section 3 with the specific grounds for discrimination being listed in the second part:
3.—(1) For the purposes of this Act, discrimination shall be taken to occur where—
(a) on any of the grounds specified in subsection (2) (in this Act referred to as "the discriminatory grounds") which exists at present or previously existed but no longer exists or may exist in the future, or which is imputed to the person concerned, a person is treated less favourably than another person is, has been or would be treated,
(a) that one is male and the other is female (the "gender ground"),
(b) that they are of different marital status (the "marital status ground"),
(c) that one has family status and the other does not or that one has a different family status from the other (the "family status ground"),
(d) that they are of different sexual orientation (the "sexual orientation ground"),
(e) that one has a different religious belief from the other, or that one has a religious belief and the other has not (the "religion ground"),
(f) subject to subsection (3), that they are of different ages (the "age ground"),
(g) that one is a person with a disability and the other either is not or is a person with a different disability (the "disability ground"),
(h) that they are of different race, colour, nationality or ethnic or national origins (the "ground of race"),
(i) that one is a member of the Traveller community and the other is not (the "Traveller community ground"),
(i) has in good faith applied for any determination or redress provided for in Part II or III,
(ii) has attended as a witness before the Authority, the Director or a court in connection with any inquiry or proceedings under this Act,
(iii) has given evidence in any criminal proceedings under this Act,
(iv) has opposed by lawful means an act which is unlawful under this Act, or
(v) has given notice of an intention to take any of the actions specified in subparagraphs (i) to (iv),
and the other has not (the "victimisation ground").
There is a process to be followed by those seeking redress and may include mediation or injunction (effectively and order that the discriminatory behaviour must stop). There is an important 2-month time limit (subject to some exceptions) in which an incident must be reported to the Director. Section 27 sets out the potential for redress under the scheme.
27.—(1) Subject to this section, the types of redress for which a decision of the Director under section 25 may provide are either or both of the following as may be appropriate in the circumstances:
(a) an order for compensation for the effects of discrimination; or
(b) an order that a person or persons specified in the order take a course of action which is so specified.
(2) The maximum amount which may be ordered by the Director by way of compensation under subsection (1)(a) shall be the maximum amount that could be awarded by the District Court in civil cases in contract.
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