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Employment Equality

Employment equality is a rapidly developing and complex area of the employment relationship in Ireland.  As the demographics of the Irish workforce continue to rapidly change with the influx of migrant workers, the ageing of the Irish working population, as well as the on-going increases in the levels of participation of females in the labour force, this area will continue to present challenges to Employers in Ireland in the future.  However, such diversity in the workforce may bring substantial benefits to Employers who promote workplace equality and diversity and tap into these workforces.  The area of employment equality is regulated both at a national and European level.  The Employment Equality Acts set out a statutory framework to uphold equality in Irish workplaces, while E.U. Directives and legal judgements directly impact employment practices here. 

As a result, this is an area of great importance to Employers, and one which can present great exposure to the risk of claims by both Employees and applicants for employment.  Aside from the compensation that may be awarded where a case arises, the negative publicity that is generated by an equality claim can be extremely damaging to an Employer’s reputation.  This is despite the fact that, in many cases, the Organisation did not intentionally discriminate, or was simply unaware of its responsibilities. 

As a result, it is strongly recommended that all Employers ensure that they are aware of their responsibilities in relation to equality in the workplace.   This section should be read in conjunction with the sections Bullying, Harassment and Sexual Harassment, and also Recruitment.

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