Work & Age

Work & Age Discrimination

Discrimination on the ‘age ground’ occurs where there is less favourable treatment of one person compared with another person because they are of different ages.

‘Age’ applies to employees over the maximum age at which a person is statutorily obliged to attend school. (The minimum school leaving age is currently 16 years, or the completion of three years of post-primary education, whichever is later).

What's covered?

The Employment Equality Acts 1998–2015:

  • promote equality;
  • prohibit discrimination (with some exemptions) across nine specified grounds (Age, Civil Status, Disability, Family Status, Gender, Membership of the Traveller Community, Race, Religion, Sexual Orientation);
  • prohibit sexual harassment and harassment across nine grounds;
  • prohibit victimisation;
  • require reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities in relation to access, participation and training in employment;
  • allow positive action measures to ensure full equality in practice across all nine specified grounds.

The Employment Equality Acts also implement the following EU Directives – The Framework Directive, the Gender Recast Directive, and the Race Directive.

What's not covered?

The prohibition on discrimination is subject to a number of general and grounds-based exemptions.

These are the most common exemptions and not an exhaustive list of exemptions provided for under the Employment Equality Acts.

Case Studies

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What's next?

Make a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) is the body that hears discrimination complaints under Ireland’s equality laws. The WRC deals with both employment and service/goods related claims. There is no fee to bring a case to the WRC and complaints can be made online.

Learn more about the WRC process

Contact us

We, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, have a statutory role to fight discrimination and provide information on equality and human rights in Ireland. Please note however that we are not a court and we do not decide on discrimination claims.

Learn more about how to contact us

Contact another organisation

You may find that another organisation could better help you with your issue.

  • Employment rights / Equal treatment in services

    Workplace Relations Commission

  • Employment law clinic

    Community Law and Mediation Centre and Arthur Cox

  • Workplace bullying

    Health and Safety Authority

  • Information on worker's rights

    Workers’ Rights Centre

  • Labour unions

    Join a union

  • Employment of people with disabilities

    Employer Disability Information

  • Older people

    Age Action Ireland

  • State pensions

    Department of Social Protection

  • Complaints about financial services and pensions

    Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman

  • Information on pensions

    The Pensions Authority

  • Children's rights

    Children's Rights Alliance

  • Rights and welfare of children

    Ombudsman for Children’s Office

  • Garda vetting

    National Vetting Bureau

  • Spent convictions

    Irish Penal Reform Trust

  • Protected Disclosure

    Transparency International (TI) Irelands ‘Speak Up’ helpline

  • Personal injury compensation

    Personal Injuries Assessment Board

  • Legal advice

    Free Legal Advice Centres

  • Legal aid

    The Legal Aid Board

  • Citizen's Information Centres

    Citizen's Information

Browse the database of organisations working on human rights and equality issues in Ireland.

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