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Want to stay on the right side of the law? We support businesses and public authorities and help them to promote good practice.

News and events

for employers and service providers

News and events for employers and service providers

Responding to Covid-19: Support and guidance for employers, service providers and public authorities

Responding to the Covid 19 PandemicThe Equality Commission is continuing to provide practical advice for employers and service providers on how they can manage their equality obligations under equality and discrimination law during the Covid-19 pandemic.

For further advice contact the Equality Commission’s helpline on 028 90 500 600 and ask for our Advisory Services Team, or email

New Guidance: Recruiting People with Disabilities

Disabled workerWe have produced new guidance on recruiting people with disabilities. As an employer, you should follow fair recruitment and selection procedures as outlined in the Recruitment, selection and promotion section of our website.

In addition to following those general procedures, you should also be aware of other important matters that you either must do, or should consider doing, when recruiting people with disabilities. These are: your need to comply with the reasonable adjustment duty, some additional good practice steps you should take and the opportunities for taking positive action that are open to you.

Harassment and bullying at work - new guidance

Harassment and bullying at work continue to be an unpleasant fact of life for some employees. Employers can work to change this by putting in place policies and procedures to create and sustain inclusive workplaces.

What is harassment and bullying?

Harassment and bullying are commonly seen as being behaviours of an offensive, oppressive or intimidatory kind that, whether deliberately or not, cause their victims to feel physically and/or emotionally hurt or distressed.
In legal terms there are subtle differences between the terms harassment and bullying. In summary these are:

  • Harassment refers to offensive, oppressive or intimidatory behaviour that is connected to a protected equality ground. It is a form of discrimination that is prohibited by the anti-discrimination laws. The protected equality grounds are: sex, pregnancy and maternity, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, religious or similar philosophical belief, political opinion, race, colour, ethnic or national origins, nationality, sexual orientation, disability and age. Anti-discrimination laws prohibit two forms of harassment, one of which is sexual harassment.
  • Bullying is similar in that it too is offensive, oppressive or intimidatory behaviour, but it is not connected to a protected equality ground. It is not deemed to be a form of unlawful discrimination under the anti-discrimination laws, although there may be legal remedies for it under other areas of employment law.

Download our guidance publication:

Supporting employees affected by cancer

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (as amended) states that people who are diagnosed with cancer are deemed to be disabled from the point of diagnosis rather than from the point when the condition has some adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Good practice stepsUnder the law, employees with cancer cannot be treated less favourably than other staff - this could be deemed discrimination. This includes during recruitment processes, employee terms and conditions, benefits, and opportunities for promotion and training.

We have produced a short guide in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support to assist employers in supporting employees affected by cancer.

Further information for employers:

Guidance for employers on pregnancy and maternity at work

Expecting Equality - Formal InvestigationThe Equality Commission conducted a investigation into the employment experiences of pregnant women and mothers, on maternity leave and on their return to work. Almost 1,000 women across Northern Ireland responded to our online survey sharing their experiences through focus group discussions and interviews.

Following the investigation the Commission produced new guidance for employers on pregnancy and maternity in the workplace. The guidance can also be downloaded as a pdf publication:

Every Customer Counts: promoting accessible services - Sign up now

Every customer counts logoAll businesses and public authorities have a legal duty to take reasonable steps to ensure that disabled people can access their services.

Signing up to the 'Every Customer Counts' initiative allows service providers to work through a 4 step process designed to help them meet this requirement:

Step 1 - Develop a Service Provision Policy

Step 2 - Conduct an Audit of Services

Step 3 - Agree an Accessible Business Action Plan

You can also sign up to the Every Customer Counts Commitment

Helpful resources are available in the form of a self audit tool, an action plan template, good practice guides, and template customer service statement and policy template.  Read more about Every Customer Counts>


Mental Health Charter

Mental Health Charter logoThe Equality Commission has launched a Mental Health Charter which provides a framework for working towards mentally healthy workplaces.

The Charter, jointly produced by the Equality Commission, Action Mental Health, Disability Action, MindWise, Mental Health Foundation and Niamh, provides a framework for working towards mentally healthy workplaces. Those who sign up to the Charter will undertake to promote good mental health which will be beneficial to their business, employees and the whole community in Northern Ireland.

The Equality Commission can provide those who sign up with free information and training resources to help them meet their Charter commitments.


Improving the gender balance in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM)

The Equality Commission is working to address gender imbalance in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) businesses in Northern Ireland.

If you are a STEM business (employer or training provider) and would be interested in webinars and networking on this subject, read more about the STEM

Employment equality law update

Employment Equality Law UpdateThe Equality Commission produced a joint newsletter with the Labour Relations Agency (LRA) to help keep businesses in Northern Ireland up-to-date with employment and equality law.

In this edition:

This edition covers:
It also includes 'employment law hot topics':

Download as a pdf publication: Employment equality law update - April 2016 (pdf, 2.46mb)

Follow us on Linked In

LinkedIn logoThe Equality Commission is now on the professional social networking site Linked in. The Commission's Advisory Services Team will be posting helpful tips and advice for employers and service providers along with information about upcoming events and training sessions.

Don't miss out, follow us now!
View some examples of how other organisations have made equality work for them.

Pregnancy and maternity at work

Guidance for employers:
Pregnancy/Maternity rights at work:


Providing accessible services for customer with disabilities

Every Customer Counts: promoting accessible services
Further information about the Commission's 'Every Customer Counts' initiative is available online:

See how local companies have made their services accessible, meeting the needs of their disabled customers and boosting their business.


Disability Etiquette - getting customer service right

Good customer service and a common sense approach can often make all the difference for your disabled customers. Read more about Getting Customer Service Right 

The videos below provide tips on etiquette when serving people with a range of disabilities.


Public Authorities - statutory duties

Further information on these topics is available on the Public Authorities section of our website:


Podcasts - advice for employers

Audio Podcasts

  • Managing bullying and harassment at work - YouTube (audio) or download MP3 file (13.3mb)
  • The reasonable steps defence - YouTube (audio) or download MP3 file (7.3mb)
  • Equality laws relating to employment in NI - YouTube (audio) or download MP3 file (6.1mb)
  • Equality Commission's advisory services for employers and service providers - YouTube (audio) or download MP3 file (5.1mb)

STEM podcasts

STEM Podcasts

We are producing a series of audio podcasts aimed at encouraging girls and young women top consider studying science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects and taking up STEM careers.


Equality at work

The Chief Commissioner of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland has a 'view from the chair' article published every month in the business section of The News Letter newspaper. These articles cover a range of equality related issues within a business context. 

2023 articles


2022 articles


2021 articles


2020 articles


2019 articles


2018 articles


2017 articles


2016 articles


2015 articles


< Videos & Podcasts
Equality at work

ETP logoWith our employer training programme currently suspended due to the ongoing pandemic, we are now providing a number of training sessions as online webinars. These will focus on a number of important equality issues for employers and will expand to cover additional topics over the coming months.

Equality training topics will include:

  • Introduction to understanding equality in the workplace
  • Recruiting fairly
  • Flexible working
  • Managing prejudice and harassment at work - promoting an inclusive workplace
  • Promoting employment for disabled people
  • The disability reasonable adjustment duty in the recruitment and selection process
  • Managing diabled employees with mental ill health - The DDA
  • Promoting sex equality in the workplace
  • Flexible working and work-life balance
  • How to complete an Article 55 Review


If you have any questions about the training, email or Tel: 028 90 500 650.


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Equality at work
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