Employment Equality

If you employ anyone, the Employment Equality Acts 1998 and 2004 apply to you. As an employer, it is your duty to ensure that:
 
  • There is no discrimination when you advertise job opportunities
  • There is equal pay for equal work
  • Employees are protected from harassment and sexual harassment
  • You make reasonable accommodation for potential and current employees with disabilities
  • You ensure there is no victimisation ofemployees who decide to take action under the Acts
  • You take all reasonable practical steps to prevent discrimination in your workforce (please note that you are liable for all the actions of your employees during the course of their employment).
In addition, you may take positive action that strives for full equality between employees.
 
Equal status
 
The Equal Status Acts 2000 and 2004 apply to your organisation if you do any of the following:
 
  • Sell goods
  • Provide services (even if these are free)
  • Provide accommodation and related services
  • Run an educational establishment. 
Under the Acts you:
 
  • Must ensure you do not advertise in a way that discriminates or harasses
  • Must prevent harassment and sexual harassment
  • Must make reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities
  • May not victimise
  • Must take all reasonable practical steps to prevent discrimination (please note that you are liable for all the actions of your employees during the course of their employment).
(You may allow preferential treatment of, or make special provisions for disadvantaged groups or individuals if this genuinely promotes their equality of opportunity.)
 

You may take positive action that strives for full equality between employees... 

 
Reasonable accommodation
 
Under both Acts, there is an obligation do all that it is reasonable to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities. This might involve providing special treatment or facilities if, without these, it would be unduly difficult or impossible to access and use goods/services, or to access, participate in, advance in, and receive training for, employment. Appropriate measures may include the adaption of premises and equipment, changes in the distribution of tasks or patterns of working time, and so on. 
 
You are only obliged to do so, however, if in relation to employment, the measures do not impose a ‘disproportionate burden’ on you and if, in relation to the Equal Status Acts, they involve no more than a ‘nominal cost’. This will depend on the nature and size of your organisation. If the state provides grants, for example for physical adaptions to premises, there may be an onus on the organisation to avail of these.