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Labour Bill Fails to Remove ‘Chill Factor’ for Gay Teachers – Power

A Bill on employment equality published by Labour backbenchers today may still allow teachers to be discriminated against solely on grounds of their sexual orientation Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson on Education Averil Power has said.

“While any initiative to amend Section 37.1 of the Employment Equality Act is very welcome, I am concerned that this Bill does not go far enough,” said Senator Power.  

“Instead of banning discrimination, it includes a specific clause under which employers may claim that taking action against a gay employee is ‘justified by a legitimate aim’

“As currently drafted, the Bill fails to provide the kind of clear and unequivocal protection needed to address the fear among LGBT staff that they may be penalised, not for anything they do or say at work but just because of who they are. By contrast, the Fianna Fáil Bill published last year provided that sexual orientation alone could simply not be used to justify discrimination.

“I look forward to debating this issue in the Seanad next week and will be asking Labour to explain the rationale for still permitting discrimination in some circumstances. I also intend to table amendments to the Bill and hope that we can work on a cross-party basis to agree a final text that delivers the kind of unequivocal protection that LGBT staff deserve.”

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