Compensation and how to demand it

A person has the right to receive compensation if they have been discriminated against

  • in working life
  • at an educational institution
  • in a trade organisation or
  • regarding the availability and supply of goods and services.

The person who is obligated to pay the compensation is the one who violated the prohibition. The amount of compensation is set by the court, with the decision process taking into account the nature, extent and duration of the discrimination. The compensation has to be paid out whether or not the discrimination has caused economic damage, because the nature of the compensation is to compensate for the insult that the discrimination has caused.

The minimum level of compensation is €3,740. As a general rule, a maximum level of compensation has not been set. As an exception to this, the compensation payable to a job applicant shall not exceed €18,690 in recruitment situations where the employer is able to show that the individual would not have been chosen for the job even if the choice would have been made on non-discriminatory grounds.

 In determining the level of compensation, the purpose has been to ensure that the consequences are strong enough to encourage the victim to appeal to their rights, and also strong enough to discourage acts of discrimination. 

A court can reduce the total amount of the compensation or revoke it completely if this is seen as reasonable regarding the violator's economic station, other circumstances and efforts to prevent or eliminate the effect of the conduct. For example, the employer may reverse the dismissal or arrange a new, equivalent work position for the applicant who was discriminated against.

Action to demand compensation

In order to receive compensation the injured party has to claim it by legal action brought at the district court in the violator's home town. The person suspecting discrimination must make it probable that the situation constitutes discrimination based on gender. This then gives rise to a presumption of discrimination. If the employer, educational institution, interest organisation or supplier of a product or service refers to a legal, weighty and acceptable reason for the conduct or that the conduct was caused by some other acceptable circumstance than the person's gender, then they have to provide evidence to support this claim.

Compensation has to be demanded within two years of the violation of the prohibition of discrimination. An exception is discrimination during recruitment, in which case the time limit is one year. Payment of compensation does not prevent the injured party from further claiming compensation under the Employment Contracts Act or the Tort Liability Act, for example.

When an action for compensation has been brought and more than one person is entitled to demand compensation on the grounds of the same act, all claims for compensation shall be dealt with in the same proceedings as far as possible. A person who suspects discrimination does not lose their right to demand compensation just because someone else has already demanded compensation in court.