Fair Employment (Northern Ireland) Act 1976

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1976 c. 25


Fair Employment (NorthernIreland) Act 1976

1976 CHAPTER 25

An Act to establish an Agency with the duties of promoting equality of opportunity in employments and occupations in Northern Ireland between people of different religious beliefs and of working for the elimination of discrimination which is unlawful by virtue of the Act; to render unlawful, in connection with such employments and occupations, certain kinds of discrimination on the ground of religious belief or political opinion; and for connected purposes.

[22nd July 1976]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I The Fair Employment Agency for Northern Ireland

Part I

The Fair Employment Agency for Northern Ireland

S-1 Constitution and general duties of the Agency.

1 Constitution and general duties of the Agency.

(1) There shall be a body named the Fair Employment Agency for Northern Ireland (‘the Agency’), consisting of a chairman and at least five but not more than eleven other members all appointed by the head of the Department of Manpower Services for Northern Ireland (‘the Department’), which shall have the duties of—

(a ) promoting equality of opportunity in Northern Ireland; and

(b ) working for the elimination of discrimination which is unlawful by virtue of this Act,

and for the purposes of discharging those duties shall have the functions conferred on it by this Act.

(2) Schedule 1 shall have effect with respect to the Agency and its affairs.

S-2 Educational functions.

2 Educational functions.

(1) In order to assist the Agency in discharging its duties the Agency may—

(a ) establish services for giving advice on matters connected with equality of opportunity;

(b ) provide training courses;

(c ) hold conferences;

(d ) undertake research which appears to the Agency to be necessary or expedient for purposes of its functions; and

(e ) disseminate (subject to the safeguard in Schedule 5, paragraph 12(4)) information about the Agency's activities or anything to which those activities relate;

or it may arrange for, or assist (financially or otherwise), any of those things to be done.

(2) The Agency may make charges for training or other facilities or services made available by it.

II Equality of Opportunity

Part II

Equality of Opportunity

General

General

S-3 Meaning of ‘equality of opportunity’.

3 Meaning of ‘equality of opportunity’.

(1) In this Act ‘equality of opportunity’ means equality of opportunity between persons of different religious beliefs.

(2) For the purposes of this Act a person of any religious belief has equality of opportunity with a person of any other religious belief if, being—

(a ) a person who is seeking employment or in employment, or

(b ) a person who is seeking to become engaged in, or is engaged in, any occupation,

he has in any circumstances the same opportunity of a kind mentioned in subsection (3) as that other person has or would have in those circumstances, due allowance being made for any material difference in their suitability.

(3) The kinds of opportunity referred to in subsection (2) are—

(a ) in relation to an employment, the opportunity to be considered, and to be submitted for consideration, for the employment, and to have and hold it on any terms, with access to all benefits connected with it and without being subjected to any detriment; and

(b ) in relation to an employment or an occupation,—

(i) the opportunity to become, and be, on any terms a member of any vocational organisation which exists for purposes of the employment or the occupation (or for purposes of employments or occupations of any class which includes the employment or occupation), with access to all the benefits of membership and without being subjected to any detriment, and

(ii) where services in connection with training for the employment are provided by a person other than the employer, or where services in connection with training for the occupation are provided by any person, the opportunity to have those services on any terms, with access to all benefits connected with them, and

(iii) the opportunity to have conferred on him, and to hold, on any terms any qualification which is needed for, or facilitates, his engagement in the employment or the occupation.

S-4 The Fair Employment Appeals Board.

4 The Fair Employment Appeals Board.

(1) There shall be a body named the Fair Employment Appeals Board (‘the Appeals Board’), consisting of a chairman and two other members all appointed by the head of the Department, which shall have the functions of hearing and determining the appeals which are authorised by this Part to be made to the Appeals Board.

(2) At least one of the members of the Appeals Board shall be a barrister or solicitor of not less than seven years' standing.

(3) Schedule 2 shall have effect with respect to the Appeals Board and its affairs.

Encouragement of commitment to standards and principle of equality of opportunity

Encouragement of commitment to standards and principle of equality of opportunity

S-5 Guide to manpower policy and practice.

5 Guide to manpower policy and practice.

(1) The Department, after consultation with the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights and the Agency, with such organisations appearing to it to be representative of employers, of organisations of workers, and of persons engaged in occupations in Northern Ireland as it thinks fit, and with such other persons as it thinks fit, shall prepare and cause to be published a guide to good manpower policy and practice containing recommendations as to policies and practices which, if adopted by employers and vocational organisations, would, in the opinion of the Department, promote equality of opportunity.

(2) The Department shall take such steps as it considers necessary to publicise the guide and to encourage employers and vocational organisations in Northern Ireland to adopt the policies and practices recommended in it.

(3) The Department shall keep the contents of the guide under review and, when necessary, revise it and cause it to be published in its revised form.

(4) In carrying out its functions under this Act, the Agency, when considering whether equality of opportunity is or is not being afforded, shall have such regard to the recommendations contained in the guide as it considers proper in all the circumstances.

S-6 Declaration of commitment to, and intent to implement, principle of equality of opportunity.

6 Declaration of commitment to, and intent to implement, principle of equality of opportunity.

(1) As soon as reasonably practicable after the commencement of this Act the Agency shall invite such organisations as appear to it to be representative of employers, of organisations of workers, and of persons engaged in occupations in Northern Ireland to subscribe to a declaration of commitment to the principle of equality of opportunity, to be known as ‘the Declaration of Principle and Intent’, and to encourage their members to subscribe to it.

(2) The Agency shall also use its best endeavours to encourage all employers and all vocational organisations to subscribe to the Declaration.

(3) The Declaration shall be in the form set out in Schedule 3 or in such other form to the like effect as the Agency specifies as being appropriate for any particular declarant.

S-7 The Register of Equal Opportunity Employers and Organisations.

7 The Register of Equal Opportunity Employers and Organisations.

(1) The Agency shall keep a register of those who have subscribed to the Declaration of Principle and Intent; and each employer or organisation whose name is for the time being on the register shall be entitled to receive from the Agency, and to hold, a certificate describing him or it as an ‘Equal Opportunity Employer’ or, as the case may be, an ‘Equal Opportunity Organisation’, and so to describe himself or itself.

(2) The power of the Agency to keep the register includes power to fix its form and to rectify it; and in particular the Agency may—

(a ) require a declarant, as a condition of remaining on the register, to reaffirm, at such intervals and in such manner as the Agency may determine, his intention to adhere to the Declaration;

(b ) remove from the register the name of any declarant who—

(i)fails to comply with a requirement imposed under paragraph (a ), or

(ii) has declared that he no longer adheres to the Declaration, or

(iii) is found by the Agency in consequence of an investigation under section 12 or section 24 to have acted in a manner inconsistent with adhering to the Declaration; and

(c ) restore to the register the name of any declarant which has been removed, where the declarant reaffirms his intention to adhere to the Declaration and it appears to the Agency that he is likely to do so.

(3) When the Agency removes the name of any declarant from the register for any of the reasons mentioned in subsection (2)(b ), it shall serve on him notice of the fact, stating the reason and requiring him to return to the Agency the certificate issued under subsection (1).

(4) Where a name is removed from the register under subsection (2)(b )(i) or (iii), the notice under subsection (3) shall inform the declarant of the right of appeal conferred by section 8.

(5) The register shall be open to public inspection during normal office hours free of charge; and any person shall be entitled to obtain from the Agency a copy of the register, or of any entry in it, upon payment of such reasonable fee as the Agency may fix.

S-8 Appeal against removal of name form, or refusal to restore name to, the register in certain circumstances.

8 Appeal against removal of...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT