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Unsure of your equality rights or the law? We can provide advice and assistance for people who feel they have been discriminated against.


What you need to know




Do you provide advice to the general public?

We can provide advice, information and resources for organisations who advise people who believe they have been discriminated against.



How can the Equality Commission help?

Last year the Commission responded to over 3000 enquiries about equality issues. We are well placed to provide advice and guidance for individual advisors and advisory organisations on dealing with complaints and explaining the law. If you require assistance contact us

Has my client been discriminated against?

As an advisor, you will need to establish whether your client’s complaint might fall under one of the statutory non-discrimination grounds.


Also, whether the allegation is actionable in law may also depend on the nature of the case; i.e. whether the issue relates to:



How is my client protected against discrimination?

When using, buying or renting goods and services and housing, people may be protected against discrimination on the grounds of:

  • sex
  • pregnancy or maternity
  • gender reassignment
  • religious belief and political opinion
  • racial group
  • sexual orientation
  • disability

When working or seeking work, people may be protected against discrimination on the same grounds listed above and also on the grounds of:

  • married and civil partnership status
  • philosophical belief
  • age

When a school pupil is trying to access and gain the educational services provided by primary and secondary schools, they may be protected against discrimination on the grounds of:


  • sex
  • racial group
  • sexual orientation
  • disability

For further information on the statutory non-discrimination grounds please go to the individuals section of the website. If your client’s allegation falls under one or more of the above grounds you may be able to refer your client to us for further assistance.


What options are available to my client?

You can advise your client to:

  • raise the complaint directly with the employer/service provider to seek a resolution
  • contact our Discrimination Advice Officers who will provide free and confidential advice
  • go directly to the Tribunal/County Court with your own legal representation to lodge a complaint of discrimination

What is the Commission's discrimination complaints procedure?

This is how we process complaints about discrimination from those who feel they have been treated unfairly. Read more about our complaints procedure

Useful publications and translations

A full list of guides and publications is available in our publications database

If you would like a publication in an alternative format please contact us

We have produced a range of translated publications for migrant workers (pdfs):

Our advice page has also been translated into Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese and Slovenian (see flag symbols - top right)

This website features 'Reachdeck' which adds speech, reading and translation support tools to online content. It works on all major browsers and platforms, including mobile phones and tablets. All features are accessed from an easy-to-use floating toolbar located at the top right menu on all web pages.



Contact us

To speak to one of our advisors telephone 028 90 500 600 (10am-4pm, Mon-Fri) or contact us



We provide training for advisory organisations, accredited training for advisors and briefing sessions for staff at political party constituency offices:

Training for advisory oganisations

If your organisation provides advice to people who have experienced discrimination, we can help you.

We provide a number of training courses and sessions for advisory organisations, their staff and volunteers.  These sessions are designed to provide a basic overview of the equality law.  They aim to build awareness and confidence in recognising unlawful discrimination, the process for making a complaint and using the Commission’s referral system.  All training sessions are free of charge.

Sessions include:
  • The Commission - who we are and what we do. What our legal team can do for you, the range of services and how we decide which cases to support to court or tribunal
  • Understanding the Industrial Tribunals – a look at practices and procedures, how it works and what to expect
  • Introduction to equality for advisors - equality laws made easy
  • Identifying discrimination and challenging discrimination – determine if equality laws have been breached and what the remedies are

Evaluations from training and information sessions include:

“all information provided was extremely useful and relevant”
“better equipped to tackle discrimination queries”
“found the sessions very beneficial and learnt a lot about equality”

If you would like to arrange a legal training session for your organisation, please contact, Tel: 02890 500556


Accredited Training Course (OCNNI)

This is a three day programme run in partnership with the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and Advice Northern Ireland members. It provides participants with an in-depth study of current equality laws and how to apply them in advisory situations.


Accreditation: The course is undertaken as an Open College Network (OCNNI) accredited qualification and is accredited with two units of OCN level four (equivalent to an undergraduate first degree level).

To gain the qualification participants are assessed by completion of a portfolio, which consists of case studies and research for external verification and completion of an online test. Costs apply to the accredited qualification, details are available on request.

Course content includes:


  • Introduction to equality (overview of the grounds and scope of law)
  • Understanding the legal process and how the Commission can help, with input from the Commission’s legal staff
  • Discrimination in employment, equal pay and vocational training
  • Exemptions and positive action measures
  • Discrimination in goods, facilities, services, housing, transport and education
  • Public sector equality duties

Dates for the next training course will be posted on both the Equality Commission and the CAB websites


Briefing sessions for political parties

These briefing sessions are specifically for support workers and staff in constituency offices of MLA’s and political representatives in Westminster and Brussels. The purpose of the sessions are to:


  • familiarise political officers with the Commission and how to access its services
  • to identify the current equality laws
  • how to identify the various grounds of discrimination
  • how to assist members of the public who may have been discriminated against

These sessions are provided free of charge and can be at your constituency office or a suitable venue of your choice. The sessions will be interactive with lessons from recent case law.


  • For further information Contact us or telephone 028 90500600

There are a number of anti-discrimination laws covering a range of equality areas including:


  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Religion and Politics
  • Sexual orientation

For further details please see our legislation section

It also contains information about EU anti-discrimination laws and Tribunal related laws.

Please note that these are links to external websites. The Equality Commission cannot accept responsibility for the content or accuracy of the material.
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