Equal Status: What you need to know about discrimination in relation to services

What is discrimination in relation to services?

The law which deals with discrimination in relation to goods and services is the Equal Status Acts 2000-2018 (ESA).

The ESA aim to make sure that people are treated equally when they access goods and services.

Discrimination in relation to the provision of goods and services happens when you are treated less favourably than another person, because of who you are.  There are different kinds of discrimination.  They all involve comparison with how other people are treated.  The ESA protects nine categories of people generally, and ten groups of people in relation to accommodation.  Not all differences of treatment are seen as discrimination under the ESA.

  • Goods are any moveable property.  For example, goods are items that can be bought or sold.
  • You are using a service when a person or organisation does something for you or supplies you with something.

 All kinds of services are covered by ESA.  Some everyday services include:

  • public services, such as the health service or local authorities
  • commercial services, such as shops, gyms, banks or cinemas
  • transport and travel services
  • housing services, such as renting from a landlord or local authority, or using an estate agent
  • educational services
  • services provided by an individual, such as plumbers or financial advisors.

There are many other kinds of services.  The ESA covers services which are free of cost (for example, a public playground, or social welfare services), as well as services which you pay for.

Pubs, nightclubs and anywhere that serves alcohol to the public are services within the meaning of the ESA.  However, if the discrimination happens “on or, at the point of entry” to the premise serving the alcohol your complaint should be made to the District Court and not the Workplace Relations Commission.


Do you think that you have been discriminated against?