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What can I do if I am experiencing discrimination?

If you have experienced discrimination, there are places you can turn to for help


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in life


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Discrimination is when a person or group of people is not treated as well as others in a similar situation because of a supposed difference. The effects of discrimination and prejudice can be severe and no one should ever have to experience them. If you have experienced discrimination, you are not alone. There is support out there and you should not have to deal with it by yourself.

What can I do if I have experienced discrimination?

Depending on where you have experienced discrimination there are different services that you can go to for support. The Gardaí do not deal with cases of discrimination.

It is illegal to discriminate on the grounds of:

  • Gender (including transgender) 
  • Civil status (whether you are married, single, divorced, or separated)
  • Family status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion (or none) 
  • Age
  • Disability
  • "Race" (Including ethnicity, skin colour and nationality)
  • Membership of Traveller Community

You can also not be discriminated against by landlords due to the fact that you receive housing assistance.

If you experience this kind of discrimination, you can contact the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) to receive legal advice and information on human rights and equality legislation in Ireland. You can contact them on 01 858300.

I have been discriminated against at work or when trying to avail of goods or services

If you want to make a complaint either about discrimination in the workplace or/and discrimination when accessing goods and services (such as in a supermarket or a restaurant), you can contact Workplace Relations Commission. 

Workplace Relations Commission acts as a court and it has the power to investigate, judge and decide on equality cases. It also provides information on industrial relations, such as your right to strike, and information on your rights and obligations under Irish employment and equality legislation.

  • IHREC can provide information on dealing with and complaining to WRC
  • Racism can also be reported to iReport.ie

I have been discriminated against by the Gardaí

If you have been discriminated against by the Gardaí, you should make a complaint to Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC). This is an independent organisation, set up to deal with complaints made by members of the public concerning the possible wrong-doing of members for An Garda Síochána. You can contact GSOC by email or post.

I have seen discriminatory content on TV or heard it on the radio

All news broadcasts should be fair, impartial, and objective. This means they should not discriminate against any group. If you feel that you have seen or heard a broadcast that is not fair, impartial or objective, you should contact the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI).

A discriminatory advertisement can be reported to Advertising Standard Authority for Ireland or IHREC.

I have read discriminatory content in a newspaper or magazine

If you have read content in a newspaper or magazine that you feel is discriminatory, you can contact the Press Ombudsman on 1850 208 080 or info@pressombudsman.ie

I have seen or experienced discrimination on the internet

If you experience or see discrimination on the internet, you can report it to Irish Internet Hotline. If the content is posted on social media, you should report the content to the social media platform and block the person. You can find out how to do this on our Online Safety Hub.

I have seen racist or discriminatory graffiti

If you have seen racist or discriminatory graffiti somewhere, you should report it to the Customer Services or Environmental Services section of your local authority. Racist graffiti and any racist content in the traditional media or online can be also reported to iReport.ie.

I am experiencing discrimination in school/ college 

If you are experiencing discrimination in school it is important to speak to someone in charge about it. Speak to a teacher you feel like you can trust or report it to your guidance counsellor. All schools have complaints and anti-bullying procedures which should be followed in such cases.

If you are experiencing discrimination from your school you can report it to the Workplace Relations Committee.

If you have been treated unfairly by a school this can be reported to the Office of the Ombudsman for Children. Firstly you will have to go through the school's internal complaints process before you can report the case to the Ombudsman. 

If you are experiencing discrimination in college you should contact your student's union and they will be able to give you advice on the best steps to take next.

Who can I talk to if I am experiencing discrimination?

If you are experiencing discrimination it can be an isolating, hurtful and frustrating experience. Remember, regardless of where you are experiencing discrimination there is always someone you can talk to who can offer you support and advice. 

If you are experiencing racism

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Published May 16th2016
Tags discrimination racism
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

Need more information?

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