Key legal provisions
Employment Equality Act (see www.workplacerelations.ie)
You cannot discriminate against employees by treating them less favourably in employment, training or promotion on the basis of their disability. This includes a previous or present disability. You cannot dismiss someone on grounds of disability if they can do the essential duties of the job.
An employer is not required to employ, retain or promote someone who will not undertake the duties or is not fully competent or capable of doing the essential duties of the job. In law, a person with a disability is considered fully competent and capable of undertaking any duties, if the person would be fully competent and capable when reasonably accommodated by the employer.
You must take reasonable steps to accommodate the needs of employees with disabilities, except where to do so would impose a disproportionate burden on you. Factors to be taken into account in relation to disproportionate burden include in particular:
- The financial and other costs entailed in providing the accommodation
- The resources available to the employer’s business
- The possibility of obtaining public funding or other assistance
You are not obliged to provide employees with equipment they would normally provide for themselves, for example, reading glasses, hearing aids.
You should ensure employees are not harassed on the basis of their disability.
The Equal Status Act outlaw discrimination outside the workplace, in particular in the provision of goods and services, selling or leasing property and certain aspects of education. Discrimination can be direct or indirect. While direct discrimination is often more obvious, indirect discrimination has a similar impact on employees. Indirect discrimination can happen when organisations’ policies and practices have negative consequence.