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The Equality Act, 2004 (Ireland) Essay Sample

Following sample is written with the purpose of creating an understanding of The Equality Act, 2004 and it’s relevant legislation in relation to this Act.

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Equality legislation now covers employment as well as the provision of goods and services, including education. The Equal Status Act, 2000 was recently amended by The Equality Act, 2004, together known as Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2004.

Equal Status Act 2000 to 2004 main aim is to promote equality by forbidding discrimination in employment, vocational training, advertising, collective agreements and the provision of goods and services. People who provide different services to the general public cannot discriminate them.

The Equality Act 2004 amends the Employment Equality Act, 1998 and enhances it’s anti -discrimination provisions. These Acts are known together as the Employment Equality Act 1998 and 2004 and cover the following aspects of employment :

Advertising, equal pay at work, access to employment promotion or regarding, dismissal, as well as other issues.

They promote equality, prohibit discrimination, prohibit sexual harassment and harassment, require appropriate measures for people with disabilities in relation to access, participation and training in employment.

The Equality infrastructure in Ireland is built around Employment Equality Act 1998, Equal Status Act 2000 and Equality Act 2004.

Apart from dealing with amendments in Employment Equality Act 1998 in Part 2 and Equal Status Act 2000 in Part 3 of Equality Act 2004 respectively. The Part 4 of this Act also gives detailed amendment of Pensions Act 1990.

The following nine grounds of discrimination are given in Equality Act 2004 and they are :-

gender, marital status, family status, age disability, sexual orientation, race, religion, civil status, membership of Traveller Community.

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Aims of Equality Act, 2004

  • It promotes equality on several grounds.
  • It prohibits certain kinds of discrimination mentioned above across the nine grounds.
  • Prohibits sexual harassment and harassment.
  • Prohibits victimization.
  • Requires reasonable accommodation of people with disability.
  • Allow a range of positive action measures.

Sexual harassment or harassment at the workplace 

Sexual harassment is defined under the section 8 of Equality Act 2004.

There are few inferences that can be drawn from the definition under this section –

  • Sexual harassment constitutes discrimination by the victim’s employer in relation to the victim’s conditions of employment.
  • Harassment at sexual level can be carried out by the employer, a fellow employee, or a client or customer or business contact of the employer.
  • It is a defense for the employer to show that he took steps that are reasonably practicable to prevent the harassment or reverse it’s effects.
  • Sexual harassment is any form of unwanted verbal, non verbal or a physical conduct of a sexual nature, which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity and creating on intimidating, hostile, degrading, or offensive environment for the person.

Vicarious Liability of Employers

Section 15, The Employment Equality Act 1998 provides that the employer is vicariously liable for actions of his employment. The section 15 is mentioned as follow :-

Section 15

(1) Anything done by a person in the course of his or her employment shall, in any proceedings brought under the Act, be treated for the purposes of this Act as done also by that person’s employer, whether or not it was done with the employer’s knowledge or approval.

(2) Anything done by a person as agent for another person, with the authority (express or implied) of that other person shall in any proceedings brought under this Act, be treated for the purposes of this Act as done also by that other person.

(3) In proceedings brought under this Act against an employer in respect of an Act alleged to have been done by an employee of the employer, it shall be a defence for the employer to prove that the employer took such steps as were reasonably practicable to prevent the employee –

(a) from doing that

(b) from doing in the course of his or her employment acts of that description.

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Burden of Proof 

Section 85 A of Employment Equality Act 1998 sets out the burden of proof in employment discrimination cases:

Section 85 A

Where in any proceedings facts are established by or on behalf of a complainant from which it may be presumed that there has been discrimination in relation to him or her, it is for the respondent to prove the contrary.

Once the victim can establish facts from which discrimination can be presumed the burden of proof shifts to the respondent/employer/harasser.


Victimization under Equality Act 2004 is prohibited. It occurs where adverse treatment by a provider of goods and services, of accommodation, or by an educational establishment or rule is made as a reaction to-

  • A complaint of discrimination having been made to the Equality Tribunal.
  • A person having been witness in many proceedings under the Equal Status Act 2000 to 2004.
  • A person having opposed by lawful means an Act which is unlawful under the Act.

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The above sample focusing upon Ireland Legislation of Equality Act 2004 must be read in reference with Equal Status Act 2000 and Employment Equality Act 1998.

Law, Social health care safety,  Health care services, Human Rights, Well being, Psychology students could easily refer to the above written essay sample for completion of their college assignments.

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The content written in this essay sample can be used for writing assignments based on Human rights law, Social Justice, social policy, Workplace Psychology and Workplace Health and safety etc.

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