General exemptions to the law on discrimination in relation to services
There are some situations in which the Equal Status Acts 2000 – 2015 (ESA), which deal with discrimination in relation to goods and services, do not apply. These are known as exemptions. The ESA details some general exemptions, including:
- Other laws: The ESA does not prohibit difference in treatment if another law requires it. For example, it is not against the ESA to refuse a social welfare payment if social welfare law says you are not entitled to it.
- Nationality: Action taken by a public authority in relation to a non-Irish national who is not lawfully within the State is not prohibited by the ESA.
- Behaviour: It is not against the ESA to refuse goods, services or accommodation if a service provider has good reason to believe that providing goods or services to a customer would lead to a substantial risk of criminal or disorderly conduct or damage to property.
The Equal Status Acts (ESA) do not cover every possible situation related to discrimination in relation to services:
- Only some kinds of discrimination are covered.
- Only nine grounds are covered generally, and ten grounds in relation to accommodation
- 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
- Some forms of discrimination – such as positive action – are not against the law.
There are other kinds of exemption:
- Exemptions which apply to goods and services in general
- Specific exemptions which apply only to accommodation services
- Specific exemptions which apply only to clubs
- Specific exemptions which apply only to education.
Click on the links to find out if any of the exemptions apply to your situation.