'Noticeable fall' in discrimination complaints to WRC

Overall, the number of complaints received by the WRC under the Equal Status Act reduced by 25% from 868 to 648.
'Noticeable fall' in discrimination complaints to WRC

Matters concerning race accounted for the highest proportion of Equal Status complaints lodged with the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) last year.

That is according to the 2019 annual report of the WRC which shows that race complaints lodged under the Equal Status Act accounted for 24.5% or 159 complaints lodged last year.

However, complaints concerning race reduced by 46% while Traveller complaints reduced by 22%, and complaints concerning gender reduced by 23%.

Overall, the number of complaints received by the WRC under the Equal Status Act reduced by 25% from 868 to 648.

The report states that the only Equal Status categories to show an increase was religion up 89% to 36 and sexual orientation to 12 both from a relatively low base.

The report stated: “There has been a noticeable fall in the number of complaints referred under the Equal Status Acts.”

The report states that the WRC as part of its Work Programme 2020, will undertake an awareness-raising campaign with regard to specific categories under the Equal Status Act.

The annual report shows that the WRC last year recovered €3.9m in unpaid wages for workers, an increase of 20.5% on the 2018 figure.

It also shows that between 2015 and 2019, the WRC has recovered €10.8m in unpaid wages.

The WRC annual report shows that the number of complaints last year increased by 36% to 20,939 - an increase that has placed some strain on the service.

Thirty percent of complaints related to ‘out of hours’ issues, 25% to pay issues, 10% to unfair dismissals and 9% to discrimination.

The spike in complaints is mainly accounted for by an increase concerning retained fire-fighters and hospital consultants and other complaints involving a firm of bookmakers and others.

Prosecutions initiated by the WRC last year resulted in 125 employer convictions.

The report also reveals that 1.3m workers were covered by disputes referred to the WRC last year.

Last year, there were 383 WRC decisions appealed to the Labour Court and the breakdown shows of the 171 decisions made by the Labour Court, 45% were upheld, 21% were overturned and 29% decisions varied.

The cost of operating the WRC last year totalled €14.95m with pay making up €12.34m of the total. The WRC employs 185 while an additional 40 external Adjudication Officers are contracted to assist the Adjudication Service on a case by case basis.

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