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Law change ‘crucial’ for equality at work

09 May 2024 / employment Print

Law change ‘crucial’ for equality at work

A conference on equality at work has been hearing that changes to the equality laws to include socio-economic status as a ground of discrimination are “crucial” to advance equality.

The event, organised by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC), is taking place in Dublin Castle today (9 May).

The commission last year recommended the inclusion of socio-economic status as a ground in a paper submitted as part of a review of equality legislation.

Inclusive workplaces

The conference heard that socio-economic discrimination could affect a person’s ability to secure decent work, and that such discrimination could push low-income households further into poverty through reduced access to education, employment, healthcare, and housing.

At the conference, public and private employers and employees, civil-society organisations and rights-holder groups, trade unions, policy-makers, and researchers have been discussing how to promote more inclusive workplaces.

The event was told that, despite near full employment in Ireland, groups facing high and systemic labour market barriers remain unemployed, or under-employed.


IHREC director Deirdre Malone said that when people were forced to live in consistent poverty, their ability to exercise all other human rights was significantly eroded.

“Lone parents, people with disabilities, Traveller and Roma, people from other ethnic minority or immigrant backgrounds, and other vulnerable groups all experience unique barriers to employment,” she stated.

“We need to consider the policies and supports required to lessen the barriers and discriminations faced by many as they navigate the world of work,” Malone concluded.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland