This law prohibits discrimination and harassment on the grounds of political opinion and applies to the fields of employment, higher education and goods, facilities and services.
Political opinion is not simply confined to covering Northern Ireland politics but has been held to include opinions such membership of the ‘broad left’ of a trade union.
The protected characteristic of political opinion is subject to the duty placed on public authorities (which includes the OU) to have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity:
This entails more than the elimination of discrimination and requires proactive measures to be taken to ensure equality for people of different racial groups in our policies and decision-making.
In addition, public authorities have a duty to have regard to the desirability of promoting good relations between people of religious belief, political opinion or racial group.