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Selected Issues in Irish Equality Law 2008 to 2011 – Useful Report from Equality Authority

For those who missed this previously, the Equality Authority have a very useful resource published in February of this year outlining selected issues in equality law from 2008 to 2011 and written by David Fennelly BL. A full copy of the report is linked here .The report is broken down into a number of useful sections including (a) jurisdiction of the Equality Tribunal (b) assessment of the burden of proof in discrimination claims (c) the Equality Tribunal’s evolving caselaw – selected substantive and procedural issues from 2008 to 2011 and (d) equality legislation before the Irish Courts.Speaking at the launch of the report earlier this year, the CEO of the Equality Authority noted that a number of challenges lay ahead including:“………The circumstances around the rights of couples who have conceived and delivered a child through surrogacy are topical and increasing in the public domain. We have made some recommendations to the Minister on our own cases, arising out of disability, for his consideration. We have also contributed to the proposals to recognise and provide for the status of transgendered people and we appreciate his Department’s role in the updating of the Code of Practice on Sexual harassment and Harassment in the Workplace in recent times………….We also welcome the Minister’s commitment to review the Section 37 provision of the Employment Equality Acts. This was a specific exemption at the time. The review I hope will consider measures from deletion to ensuring the chilling effect on LGBT workers is no longer a barrier to well qualified people, making their contribution in education, health and other important sectors. Further immediate challenges lie ahead arising from the recent Council of Europe’s ‘European Committee of Social Rights’ finding, on the fact that there is a maximum compensation in our employment equality legislation is in breach of European human rights law. The Equality Authority pointed this out as far back as 2004. The preparation of our new legislation may be an opportunity to address that issue to ensure compliance with the European standards and other matters that have arisen in the working of this important legislation during its first decade………”

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