Ireland: Bill aims to add discrimination protections for LGBT teachers
A new bill published to be published in Ireland tomorrow hopes to remove the possibility of teachers being discriminated against based on their sexual orientation.
The Employment Equality (Amendment) (No 2) Bill, 2013, will be published by a group of Labour Senators and TDs tomorrow.
It seeks to amend Section 37.1 of the Employment Equality Act to remove the prospect of discrimination against teachers based on who they are.
The Bill aims to remove the fear of employees and prospective employees in religious run institutions, such as schools and hospitals, that they could be discriminated against because they are married, single, divorced or in a civil partnership, or because they are lesbian or gay.
Last May Senator Averil Power of Fianna Fáil, sought to amend Section 37.1 of the Employment Equality Act 1998 to remove any prospect of employees in religious run institutions being discriminated against, however it was unsuccessful.
Sandra Irwin-Gowran, Director of Education Policy with Ireland’s Gay and Lesbian Equality Network released a statement.
She said: “We congratulate the Labour Party Senator Ivana Bacik and TDs Aodhan Ó’Riordan, John Lyons, Ciara Conway and Dominic Hannigan for bringing forward the Bill. It affords a very important opportunity to clarify for once and for all that you cannot be prevented from taking up a job or discriminated in your job because you are lesbian or gay”.
“The Bill aims to ensure that employees or prospective employees in religious run institutions, such as schools, cannot be discriminated against just because they are married, single, divorced or in a civil partnership, or because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). We look forward to working together to ensure that full employment equality is provided for LGBT people.” she continued.
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No case had been brought upon a gay or lesbian teacher, however it has been described by GLEN that such teachers “lived in fear” for their jobs, and of being open about their sexuality.
“There is a link between homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools and a ‘fear factor’ for lesbian and gay teachers being open about their lives. Removal of uncertainty will be an important building block in ensuring that schools can urgently and comprehensively address bullying in our schools, as outlined in the Action Plan on Bullying recently published by the Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn and Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald.” said Irwin-Gowran.
The bill will be published on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the introduction of the Unfair Dismissals (Amendment) Bill in 1993, which protects employees from being dismissed based on their sexual orientation.
The new bill hopes to ensure that people are not denied jobs on the basis of their sexual orientation, civil (marital) status or family status among other grounds
The Irish Programme for Government commits that “publically identified LGBT people should not be deterred from training or taking up employment as teachers in the State.”