Complaints of discrimination made to the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland
Dear Equality Commission for Northern Ireland,
I am writing to you for a Request of information, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).
A) How many complaints/allegation or charges of discrimination or human rights abuses have been made to the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.
1) By Employees
2) By Public Members
3) By University students
4) By University staff
B) How many of these incidents as mentioned in A have been found to be proven or partially proven
C) What is the discrimination type or human rights abuse category of the incidents proven or partially proven?
D) What measurements are in place for the public to raise a complaint against the commission on discrimination or equality grounds?
E) What measurements have in place to ensure due rigour, process, neutrality and transparency during the handling of such complaints and what routes are open to the public if they wish for an independent adjudicator to investigate?
I do not ask for any identifiers that would contravene the HM Data Protection Act 1998.
The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland acknowledges receipt of your
email which will be forwarded to the appropriate staff member(s).
Further information on the Commission’s work can be found on our
If you are contacting us about a potential discrimination complaint then a
Discrimination Advice Officer will aim to be in touch with you within 3
I acknowledge receipt of your Freedom of Information Request below which is receiving attention.
Solicitor & FOI Officer
Equality Commission for NI
Dear Mr McQueen
I refer to your freedom of information request below which appears to
relate to complaints made against the Universities in Northern Ireland.
As set out in my response earlier today in another freedom of information
request from you, the Equality Commission can only advise and assist in
relation to specified grounds of unlawful discrimination; race, age,
sexual orientation, gender, religious belief/political opinion or
disability. Allegations of human rights abuses fall outside the
In relation to your specific questions, I respond below using the same
lettering as in your email.
A The Commission does not collate information in relation to
applications for assistance by the status of those individuals making a
complaint. The information is collated on the basis of the type of
unlawful discrimination being alleged.
B See A above.
C Allegations of unlawful discrimination are not adjudicated upon
by the Equality Commission. Complaints relating to discrimination in the
provision of goods facilities and services are heard in the County Court
and those relating to employment are dealt with by the Fair Employment
Tribunal (in the case of religious belief and political opinion) and the
Industrial Tribunal in relation to all other grounds of unlawful
discrimination. As the Commission supports only a small percentage of
discrimination complaints that come before the Tribunals and the County
Court it does not hold the information you request.
D The Equality Commission is subject to the
equality/discrimination law in the same as any other body. As set out
above, if the complaint relates to provision of goods facilities and
services, the complaint can be taken to the County Court or otherwise it
can be lodged in the Fair Employment Tribunal or Industrial Tribunal. A
person wishing to raise a complaint of discrimination against the
Commission can apply to the Commission for assistance and the Commission’s
Conflict of Interest Policy (see attached) will be applied.
E It is not clear if the phrase “during the handling of such
complaints” refers to how the Commission deals with applications for
assistance or to a discrimination complaint against the Commission
itself. If it is the former, the Commission has in place a Policy for the
Provision of Advice and Assistance (see attached) which sets criteria for
consideration by Commissioners who sit on the Legal Funding Committee.
Recommendations are made by Senior Legal Officers who are legally
qualified, the decisions of the LFC are minuted and recorded and if the
application is refused the reasons for refusal of assistance are
communicated to the individual. There is a staged process for assistance
and independent barristers may be instructed to provide an opinion on the
application for assistance.
I have also attached a copy of the Commission’s ‘Frequently
Asked Questions’ which may be of assistance.
Finally, you refer to an independent adjudicator to investigate
and it is not clear what investigation you are referring to. However, the
Commission is the body charged under the legislation with deciding whether
or not it should grant assistance.
I trust that this is helpful.
Solicitor and Freedom of Information Officer
Equality Commission for Northern Ireland
7-9 Shaftesbury Square
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