Back

Reconciliation option now incorporated into law: A change to the Equality Act will strengthen the legal protection of individuals experiencing discrimination

Reconciliation option now incorporated into law: A change to the Equality Act will strengthen the legal protection of individuals experiencing discrimination

Ombudsman for Equality now has the powers to promote reconciliation

The Ombudsman for Equality is now able to promote reconciliation in matters concerning discrimination referred to in the Equality Act. The Equality Act prohibits discrimination based on gender, gender identity and gender expression.

The Ombudsman for Equality has for many years urged the Government and Parliament to add a provision on reconciliation to the act and expresses her satisfaction with the change, which will strengthen the legal protection of individuals experiencing discrimination. The option of settling a dispute through reconciliation is important to both parties in a discrimination case. The procedure may provide a workable alternative to court processes, which are often expensive and last long and may not necessarily produce the desired results.

The reconciliation procedure is a voluntary arrangement and based on the consent of both parties. Under the new provision, the parties can also agree to settle their dispute by agreeing on a financial compensation. The parties may submit the settlement to the National Non-Discrimination and Equality Tribunal for approval and after approval, the settlement is enforceable in the same manner as an enforceable court decision.

The amendment harmonises the legal protection instruments contained in the Equality Act and the Non-discrimination Act because there are already provisions on the reconciliation procedure in the Non-discrimination Act. The provisions of the Equality Act on promoting reconciliation and approval of a settlement entered into force on 15 November 2016.

19.12.2016