How do we submit a complaint form?
- By Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- By post
- Hand the complaint form personally at the EOC
Equal Opportunities Commission
1st floor Belmont House
(Documents may be attached online or additional documents may also be sent by post)
How does the EOC operate once a complaint is received?
- An acknowledgement letter is sent to the complainant.
- A preliminary examination of the complaint is carried out by the Commission.
- If ex facie a complaint, it would appear that there is no sufficient evidence that the complaint is well-founded, the complainant is requested to furnish further information or to particularise the status upon which he/she feels discriminated. The complainant may also be requested to furnish further information.
- If the complaint appears to be time-barred, the complainant is called upon to show good cause for the time-line to be extended.
- Following a preliminary examination of the complaint, if there is sufficient evidence that the complaint may be well-founded, the Commission opens an investigation.
- During the investigation, the parties may be called for a hearing and the commission may request for the production of documents or other information relating to the complaint.
- Following an investigation, the complaint may still be rejected if it is concluded that there is no sufficient evidence that the complaint is well-founded.
- If the complaint is well-founded, the Commission proceeds to the conciliation stage.
- If there is evidence of discrimination following an investigation, but there is no possibility of conciliation between the parties, the Commission refers the matter to the Equal Opportunities Tribunal, with the consent of the complainant.
Should a complainant be assisted by his counsel?
A complainant may be assisted by his counsel if he so wishes or by any other person (for example, a trade unionist).
What is the difference between the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Equal Opportunities Tribunal?
EOC: Equal Opportunities Commission
The Commission consists of a chairperson and 3 other members. When the Commission opens an investigation, it has a duty to find a solution with respect to the matter through the process of conciliation.
EOT: Equal Opportunities Tribunal
The EOT consists of a President and two other assessors.
If the conciliation process fails, the Commission refers the matter to the Equal Opportunities tribunal. The Tribunal can take the following actions:
- Make an order declaring the rights of the complainant and the respondent in relation to the act to which the complaint relates.
- Make an order requiring the respondent to pay to the complainant, within such time as it may determine compensation in an amount not exceeding Rs 500,000
- Make a recommendation that the respondent takes within a specified period, action appearing to the Tribunal to be practicable for the purpose of obviating or reducing the adverse effect on the complainant of any act of discrimination to which the complaint relates.
- Issue interim orders as a matter of urgency for the purpose of-
- preventing serious and irreparable damage to a person or category of persons;
- protecting the public interest; or
- preventing a person from taking any step that would hinder or impede a hearing before the Tribunal.
What happens if the conciliation is not possible between the parties?
If conciliation is not possible between the parties, the Commission refers the matter to the Equal Opportunities Tribunal, with the consent of the complainant.
What are the different types of discrimination?
- Direct Discrimination: A person (the discriminator) discriminates directly against another person (the aggrieved person) on the ground of the status of the aggrieved person where –
- in the same or similar circumstances, the discriminator treats or proposes to treat the aggrieved person less favorably than he treats or would treat a person of a different status; and
- the discriminator does so by:
- The status of the aggrieved person; or
- A characteristic that generally appertains or is imputed to persons of the status of the aggrieved person.
- Indirect Discrimination: A person (the Discriminator) discriminates indirectly against another person where-
- The discriminator imposes, or proposes to impose a condition, requirement or practice on the aggrieved person;
- The condition, requirement or practice is not justifiable on the circumstances; and
- The condition, requirement or practice has, or is likely to have, the effect of disadvantaging the aggrieved person when compared to other persons of the same status
- Discrimination by victimization : A person (“the discriminator”) discriminates by victimization against another person (“the aggrieved person”) where he subjects or threatens to subject the aggrieved person to any detriment or where he treats the aggrieved person less favourably than in those circumstances he treats or would treat other persons and does so –
- On the ground that the aggrieved person-
- Has made, or proposes to make a complaint against the discriminator or any other person under this Act;
- Has brought, or proposes to bring proceedings under this Act against the discriminator or any other person;
- Has furnished or proposes to furnish ,any information or has produced, or proposes to produce a document to a person exercising/ performing any power or function under this Act;
- Has attended/proposes to attend an inquiry under this Act or to provide evidence or testimony as a witness; or
- Has made in good faith an allegation that the discriminator or any other person has committed an act of discrimination in contravention of this Act; or
- On the ground that the discriminator believes that the aggrieved person has done or proposes to do any of the things referred to in paragraph (a)
-Subsection (1) does not apply to the treatment of a person by reason of any allegation made by him where the allegation was false and not made in good faith.
-Make a recommendation that the respondent takes, within a specified period, action appearing to the Tribunal to be practicable for the purpose of obviating/ reducing the adverse effect on the complainant of any act of discrimination to which the complaint relates.
On whom is the burden of proof when a complaint is made?
- If it is direct discrimination: The burden of proof is on the complainant.
- If it is indirect discrimination: The burden of proof is on the respondent.
Does the EOA (Equal Opportunities Act) 2008 apply to the public sector?
Yes, the EOA applies to both the public and the private sectors.
Is it necessary to fall under the purview of ‘status’ as defined in the law?
Yes, it is mandatory.