Diversity and discrimination
Find out about discrimination because of age, gender, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or disability. If you think you have been treated unfairly or have been discriminated against you can get help and advice to understand and enforce your rights.
Getting help and advice
The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland can advise you if you believe you have suffered unlawful discrimination on the grounds of:
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
The law protects against discrimination at work on all of the above grounds. It also covers acts of discrimination in accessing services, or buying goods, or renting, buying or accessing premises on all those grounds except age.
There is legal protection against age discrimination in Northern Ireland. Treating staff fairly and recognising individuals' talents and needs is not just the right thing to do, but makes good business sense as well.
Sex and gender equality
Unlawful sex discrimination is when someone is treated unfairly because of their gender. It also includes treating someone less favourably because they are married or in a civil partnership.
Women, men and transsexual people can all experience sex discrimination.
In Northern Ireland, there is a statutory obligation on public authorities to promote equality of opportunity between:
- people of different religious belief, political opinion, racial group, age, marital status or sexual orientation
- men and women generally
- people with a disability and people without
- people with dependants and people without
The term 'sexual orientation' refers to a person’s emotional, romantic or sexual attraction towards people of the same sex, people of the opposite sex, or people of the same sex and opposite sex.
The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland has information and advice about discrimination due to an individual's sexual orientation, or perceived orientation, or the sexual orientation of those they associate with.
If you think you have been treated unfairly because of your sexual orientation, you can get advice and support:
The Race Relations (Northern Ireland) Order makes it unlawful to discriminate in:
- the disposal and management of premises
- the provision of goods, facilities and services
It also says that segregation on racial grounds is discrimination.
The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland has responsibility for enforcing race relations legislation. It also has a specific duty to advise and help people who feel they are being discriminated against racially.
People with disabilities
You will find more information on definitions of 'disability' and information on general rights of access to goods and services at the following section:
Discrimination at work
Find information on what discrimination means due to age, sex, race, disability, religion or belief and sexual orientation - and what can be done about it:
More information on fair employment and treatment in the workplace is also available from the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland website.