Following the recent High Court Case new proposals in relation to JLC/REA's have been made by the government:
24-Nov-10 at 18.17 | Resolve HR Admin
Following today's decision to reduce the Minimum Wage rate to €7.65. The Government has signalled that the ERO and REA rates should be reviewed. In particular the Catering,...

Equality Tribunal Hearing

The Equality Tribunal is an indpendent state body which was set up to deal with all complaints of discrimination in employment and access to goods and services. It differs from the Equality Authority in that its role is to investigate complaints only while the Equality Authority will provide advice and promotes awareness of equality issues. The Equality Authority receives complaints under the following legislation:

 

  • The Employment Equality Acts 1998 to 2008 which make it unlawful to discriminate at work including recruitment and promotion; equal pay; working conditions; training or experience; dismissal and harassment including sexual harassment.
  • The Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2008 which make it unlawful to disccriminate outside the workplace, in particular in the provision of goods and services, selling renting or leasing property and certain aspects of education. 
  • Pensions Act 1990 to 2004 which make it unlawful to descriminate in occupational pension schemes.

 

These acts define discrimination as occuring where one person is treated less favourably then another person under of nine grounds, which are:

  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Family status
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Race (including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins) or
  • Membership of the Traveller community.

 

Discrimination can also be deemed to occur where someone is treated less favourably because they associated with someone protected under the nine grounds. The Equality Tribunal will also investigate claims of victimisation, which occurs when a person is treated less favourably than another because they opposed discrimination or were involved in a complaint of unlawful discrimination.

 

How is a complaint made?

The Equality Tribunal will only take action on complaints submitted in writing. Complaints under the Employment Equality Acts 1998 to 2008 must be brought within 6 months of the last act of discrimination. When making complaints under the Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2008 the complainant must first notify the person or organisation they are making the complaint against and can only notify the Equality Tribunal if they are dissatisfied with the response or did not receive any response.

When initially contacted the Equality Tribunal will offer its mediation services to the complainant, if this is regected then the complaint goes forward for investigation.

Where Mediation is accepted this takes place in private and if a solution is found both parties sign an agreement which is legally binding. If a solution is not reached then the case goes forward for investigation.

 

How is a complaint investigated?

An Equality Officer appointed by the Equality Tribunal will conduct a formal examination of a complaint. They will consider written submissions from both parties and will send copies of the other side's submission and any other relevant material to both parties. The Equality Officer will then conduct a formal hearing to hear the evidence before making a decision. Hearings are held in private, but decisions are published on the Equality Tribunal's website, www.equalitytribunal.ie and through the media. Similar to a Rights Commissioner hearing there is no requirement to be represented at the hearing as it is possible to represent yourself. However in a lot of instances we find that people are not used to attending these types of formal hearings and benefit greatly from the advice and representation we provide here at Resolve HR. Particularly when it comes to preparing the case, presenting it on the day of the hearing and achieving the desired outcome.

 

Decisions by the Equality Tribunal are legally binding, meaning that each side must obey them and remedies can include:

  • Compensation
  • Order for equal pay or equal treatment
  • Order a specified course of action by a specified person (usually the respondent).

In claims relating to equal pay, the claimant may be entitled to equal pay and up to three years' arrears of pay from the date of the claim. In other cases, the claimant may be entitled to equal treatment and/or compensation of up to two years' pay (or up to €12,697 if they are not an employee).

 

Equality Tribunal decisions can be appealed, to either the Labour Court in employment and pensions cases and to the Circuit Court in equal status cases, within 42 days of the issue of the decision. To get more information about the Equality Tribunal or to discuss our services in more detail please Contact Us