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Equality Law

Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998

Applies in Northern Ireland

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.

Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998

Applies in Northern Ireland

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:

  • Between persons of different age, religious belief, political opinion, racial group, marital status or sexual orientation.
  • Between men and women generally.
  • Between persons with a disability and persons without.
  • Between persons with dependants and persons without.

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.