Human rights

Human Rights Commission calls for prohibition of discrimination against caregivers

Discrimination against people – mainly women – with family responsibilities should be explicitly prohibited, while greater protections are needed for transgender people, the poor and those convicted of criminal justice and victims of prejudice, a the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (Ihrec) warned on Monday.

In a broad submission to the Ministry for Children and Equality, he says legal aid should be available for people taking equality cases at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), domestic workers must be protected against discrimination and the medicalized definition of disability in equality. the law does not comply with international human rights obligations.

In June last year, Equality Minister Roderic O’Gorman announced a review of equality legislation – equal status laws and equal employment laws (1998 to 2020).

The Ihrec says these laws need to be updated because “Ireland is a more diverse multi-ethnic and multinational society” than when they were introduced.

The ground of ‘family status’ – one of nine on which a person can claim to be discriminated against -‘ does not go far enough to capture and protect all family responsibilities … in Irish society modern, ”says Ihrec.

Women are much more likely to be discriminated against because of their family responsibilities than men, according to Ihrec, and the family status ground “should be changed to encompass and protect all family responsibilities”.

“Many people can now take care of older relatives or people who do not live with them… Care work often has to be juggled with professional responsibilities.

“Women are over-represented among employees with reduced hours … gaps in the protection offered by the laws have a particular impact on women and contribute to perpetuate gender inequality in the labor market,” notes he does.

The areas of “gender, gender identity and gender expression are evolving,” says the commission.

While “still seeking to identify the best approach to take to reform gender in equality legislation”, he argues that laws should be amended “to explicitly prohibit discrimination against transgender people, not binary and intersex ”.

Help line

The Commission’s helpline regularly receives calls from people discriminated against because of their disadvantaged socio-economic status, in access to education and employment, and to services such as insurance. , banking and leisure.

However, “none of these complaints gave rise to action because socio-economic status is not a protected ground,” he said. “Introducing this motif would be a crucial change in the equality landscape in Ireland.”

With regard to disability, the Committee notes that the approach in the legislation is “medical” and “does not recognize the existence of [social] barriers that hinder the full participation of persons with disabilities in society on an equal basis with others ”.

This is out of step with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by Ireland in March 2018.

The definition must “be brought into line with the human rights model enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, based on close consultation and active participation of persons with disabilities and their families. representative organizations ”.

Particularly critical of the exclusion of domestic workers from the protections of employment equality legislation, the committee states that this “has a disproportionate effect on women, in particular migrant women who constitute the majority of domestic workers ”.

He calls for nondisclosure regulations or confidentiality agreements in WRC rules, saying some complainants may not know they are not obligated to agree to them. He notes the view of some Irish lawyers that these are used to “cover up” abuse.