Specific exemptions which apply to goods and services

There are some situations in which the Equal Status Acts 2000 – 2018 (‘ the ESA’), which deal with discrimination in relation to goods and services, do not apply.  These are known as exemptions.

Some specific exemptions apply to goods and services.

The main ones are:

  • Gender: It is not discrimination if you ask for a person of your own gender to provide cosmetic services which require physical contact (for example, body waxing, body massage). You can also be treated differently if there is a lack of privacy (for example, a changing room which is used by both women and men).
  • Religion: It is not discrimination to provide difference in treatment on the religion ground in relation to goods and services provided for a religious purpose.
  • Age: Adoption agencies can set age limits for adoptive or foster parents.
  • Sporting events: It is not discrimination to treat people differently according to age, gender, nationality or disability.
  • Insurance: Insurance companies can charge different rates to different people, based on established “risk”. For example, you can be charged more if you have a strong family history of a particular illness.  But you cannot be treated differently on the gender or race ground.
  • Wills and gifts: You are entitled to choose whoever you want to benefit.
  • Special interests: It is not discrimination to have a service just for one category of persons (for example, a cinema club for older people).

Also, there are some limits on what service providers have to do.  This includes not having to go above nominal costs related to providing reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities.

There are also other kinds of exemptions:

Click on the links to find out if any of the exemptions apply to your situation.