What happens when you make a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission under the Equal Status Acts

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) deals with most complaints of discrimination under the Equal Status Acts 2000 – 2018 (ESA)

The WRC has two ways of looking into claims under the ESA:

  • Mediation
  • Adjudication


The mediation officer is a neutral person who works with both sides to try to reach an agreement. Mediation can only take place if both parties agree to use it. If you settle your complaint through mediation, the terms of the settlement are confidential and legally binding.


Some claims are not suitable for mediation, or are not resolved by mediation.  In those cases, an adjudication officer will investigate your claim and make a decision.  Adjudicators hear cases in private. Any decision that an adjudication officer makes is legally binding.

Representation and costs

You do not need to get a lawyer to represent you at the WRC.  You can represent yourself or get another person, such as a community leader, to assist you.  The WRC does not usually cover costs.

Dismissing a claim

An adjudication officer can dismiss a claim if they think it is not valid.  For example, they may rule that it is not really discrimination related to one of the grounds, or that your complaint did not relate to a serious issue.


You can find out more about what happens when you make a claim, and also about other aspects of the process, by contacting the Workplace Relations Commission.


Not all complaints go to the Workplace Relations Commission.

If the discrimination occurred “on or at the point of entry” of a premises that serves alcohol then you must make your complaint to the District Court. Also, different rules apply to registered clubs, and depending on the type of discrimination a complaint might have to be made to the District Court.