crosscare migrant project

Information & Advocacy Services

LIVING IN IRELAND: An Integration Website for Migrants living in Ireland

Discrimination & Racism

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What is discrimination?

In Ireland, discrimination has a specific meaning under the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015 and the Equal Status Acts 2000-2015. It is described as the treatment of a person in a less favourable way than another person is, has been or would be treated in a comparable situation on any of the following nine grounds:

  • gender
  • marital status
  • family status
  • age
  • race
  • religion
  • disability
  • sexual orientation
  • membership of the Traveller community

There are different types of discrimination covered by legislation:

Direct discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably than another, in similar circumstances, based on one of the nine grounds.

Indirect discrimination is about practices or policies, which seem fair at first sight but which in effect, either intentionally or more often un-intentionally, result in discrimination against a minority ethnic group or groups.

Discrimination by association happens when a person associated with another person who belongs to a particular ethnic minority is treated less favourably because of that association.

If you feel you have been discriminated against in relation to employment or the provision of goods and services, you may be protected by equality legislation and you can report the incident to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission:
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The Employment Equality Acts, 1998-2015 prohibit direct and indirect discrimination in employment across the nine grounds. The Act covers advertising of a vacancy, equal pay, access to employment, vocational training and work experience, terms and conditions of employment, promotion or re-grading, classification of posts, dismissal and collective agreements.

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Goods and Services

The Equal Status Acts, 2000-2015 prohibits discrimination when trying to access goods and services on the nine grounds.

The Act applies to people who:

  • Buy and sell a wide variety of goods
  • use or provide a wide range of services
  • obtain or dispose of accommodation
  • attend at or are in charge of educational establishments

Examples of services include:

  • Banking, insurance, grants, loans, credit or financing
  • Entertainment, recreation or refreshment
  • Cultural activities
  • Transport or travel
  • A service or facility provided by a club which is available to the public or a section of the public
  • A professional trade or service

If you have questions in relation to discrimination, you should contact the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission 16-22 Green Street, Dublin 7.

Lo-call: 1890 245 545
Telephone: 01 8589601

While the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission can provide you with information and assistance, it is the Workplace Relations Commission where official complaints in relation to equality legislation can be lodged. The Workplace Relations Commission is the impartial forum to hear or mediate complaints of alleged discrimination under equality legislation. It is independent and quasi-judicial and its decisions and mediated settlements are legally binding.

Workplace Relations Commission

Information and Customer Service

O'Brien Road


Locall: 1890 80 80 90
Telephone: 059 9178990

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Making a Complaint: Practical Advice

Make a careful record of the incident and keep copies of all correspondence of your complaint, including completed forms.

Contact witnesses to the incident and gather evidence that will support your complaint, for example a written report by a doctor confirming your injuries if you suffered an assault.

What can I do if I have been a victim of racism?

If it is a racist crime, you should report this to the Gardaí (police).

Racist crime can include:

  • Assaults, including fatal assaults
  • Damage to property
  • Threatening behaviour, including verbal abuse and harassment
  • Incitement to hatred
  • Circulation of offensive material
  • Graffiti

A racist incident is any incident perceived to be racially motivated by:

  • the victim
  • a member of the Gardaí
  • a person who was present and witnessed the incident or
  • a person acting on behalf of the victim

If you believe that you are a victim of a racist crime you should report it to your local Garda station or in an emergency dial 999 or 112. You can also contact the Garda Racial, Intercultural and Diversity Office

Harcourt Square, Harcourt Street, Dublin 2
Telephone: 01 6663150/3817

You can also report racist incidents to the Immigrant Council of Ireland.

Telephone: 01 6740200


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Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission works to ensure that the human rights of all people in the State are fully realised and protected, in law, in policy and in practice:

16-22 Green Street, Dublin 7
Telephone: 01 8589601

Lo-call: 1890 245 245

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Supported by

This project is co-financed by the European Commission under the European Integration Fund
and is supported by the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration in the Dept of Justice & Equality & Pobal.