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About Us: The Role and Functions of the Equality Authority

The Equality Authority is an independent body set up under the Employment Equality Act 1998. It was established on 18th October 1999.

The Equality Authority replaced the Employment Equality Agency, and has a greatly expanded role and functions. The Employment Equality Act, 1998 and the Equal Status Act, 2000 outlaw discrimination in employment, vocational training, advertising, collective agreements, the provision of goods and services and other opportunities to which the public generally have access on nine distinct grounds.

These are:

  • gender;
  • civil status;
  • family status;
  • age;
  • disability;
  • race;
  • sexual orientation;
  • religious belief; and
  • membership of the Traveller Community.


Discrimination is described in the Act as the treatment of a person in a less favourable way than another person is, has been or would be treated on any of the above grounds.