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How is our work influencing life in Northern Ireland and delivering equality? Learn more about our policy, legal and research work.
 
 

Councillors

Race law reform

What you need to know

 
Increased protection for councillors


Key point
 
  • This change will introduce new protection for Councillors against racial discrimination and harassment by local councils. Our recommendation is in line with changes that have already taken place under the equality legislation in Great Britain.


Our recommendation
 
We recommend increased protection for Councillors against racial discrimination and harassment by local councils.


Rationale for change

Currently there is no protection for Councillors in local councils against racial harassment or discrimination by local councils. This change to the race equality legislation would mean that it would be unlawful for a local council to harass a Councillor because of his or her race or to discriminate or victimise a Councillor on racial grounds, when carrying out his/her official duties.

It would, for example, enable a Councillor to bring a racial discrimination complaint if they were denied access to facilities or training on racial grounds, or subjected to offensive or degrading racial comments by council staff. This provision would not apply to the election or appointment to posts within the local council.

Further, our recommendation is in line with changes to the equality legislation that have already been implemented in Great Britain under the Equality Act 2010. This legislation prohibits local councils from subjecting a Councillor, when carrying out his/her official duties, to discrimination or harassment on racial or other equality grounds.

Further, as this legislative gap exists under other equality grounds, we recommend increased protection for Councillors against discrimination and harassment across all equality grounds including race.
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