Human Rights and Equality Update - Issue 1 2020
Issue 1 2020

Kicking off 2020, the Commission welcomed the discrimination ruling by the Workplace Relations Commission in the case of an asylum seeker refused a learner driver licence. We provided legal representation to the man in his successful case. The State is seeking to appeal the ruling.

On employment equality, we just launched a new animated video explaining your rights under the Employment Equality Acts. Please take a look and share. 

Meanwhile those seeking to ensure that older workers who wish to continue in employment are not discriminated against should consult our guidelines and case studies on Retirement and Fixed-term Contracts.

Finally, ahead of the first General Election since Ireland ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, hear from All Human, All Equal campaign participant Dr Rosaleen McDonagh (pictured above) on the rights and requirements of people with disabilities around elections.

Find out more about our latest work and significant human rights and equality issues in Ireland below.


Barriers to work
Asylum seeker refused driver licence experienced discrimination on race ground 


An asylum seeker who was refused a learner driver licence was discriminated against on the grounds of race, according to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

The adjudicator ruled that the man had suffered indirect discrimination by being asked “to produce documentation that it was impossible for him to obtain”. He ordered €2,500 in compensation and instructed the driving license service to process the application.

The Commission provided legal representation to the man in his successful case. We will continue in light of the State appeal to assist this man to vindicate his rights and the rights of others in similar situations.

While the Supreme Court has ruled that people in international protection system can seek employment, the reality is that administrative barriers such as this tie people’s hands in the competition to secure work, especially in rural areas.

Workplace Relations Commission–Full decision

Related media
The Journal article
RTÉ article
Irish Times article
Irish Independent article
Commission media release

New video explainer

A Guide to the Employment Equality Acts

EEA vid 

When it comes to getting a job, or when we're in a job, it's not always a level playing field.

Our latest animated video explains the nine equality grounds under which discrimination is prohibited in law, and the steps people can take if they feel they have been discriminated against.

Please take a look and share. 

Video: Guide to the Employment Equality Acts 
More human rights and equality video explainers
Contact the Your Rights helpline

newsletter quotes jan 2019-03

Retirement and fixed-term contracts
Guidelines for employers and employees


Ireland’s aging workforce brings opportunities and challenges for employers and employees across the private and public sectors.

Employers sometimes offer fixed-term contracts to workers over the compulsory retirement age who may wish to continue in employment.

To ensure equal treatment and avoid age-related discrimination in the workplace, employers must objectively justify:

1) Setting a compulsory retirement age; and

2) Offering a fixed-term contract to an employee who reaches that age.

Retirement and Fixed-Term Contract Guidelines
Case Studies
Video Explainer

Disabilty rights and elections
Equal participation featured in campaign


Hear from Dr Rosaleen McDonagh on the requirements and rights of persons with disabilities in the area of voting, as part of our national awareness campaign All Human. All Equal.

Led by people with disabilities, and developed with our Disability Advisory Committee, the campaign touches on the experiences of 13 people with disabilities.

For future elections, the Commission has recommended that an electoral commission should set and monitor standards, which focus on people’s right to equally participate in public life and voting. Persons with disabilities should participate in setting these standards.

Dr Rosaleen McDonagh on voting and disability
Recommendations on the establishment of an Electoral Commission
More videos from the All Human. All Equal. campaign


Joint Committee continues focus on Brexit 

Citizenship in Northern Ireland 


The Joint Committee of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission this month held a seminar in Belfast to discuss ongoing research on the implications of Brexit for citizenship in Northern Ireland. 

Attendees heard from experts exploring the continuing of EU rights, opportunities and benefits of EU citizens in Northern Ireland post Brexit, and also a legal analysis of incorporating the birthright committments under the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement into UK law.

The Joint Committee has been working since the UK EU Membership Referendum to consider and make recommendations on the rights and equality issues arising from Brexit.

Keep an eye out for new research publications on this topic later this year.

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