New codes of practice to tackle pay inequality and workplace harassment can be used in court

New codes of practice to tackle unequal pay and workplace harassment can be invoked in court in labor disputes, according to the country’s human rights watchdog.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) will release the codes on Wednesday. The Equal Pay Code of Practice provides employers, unions and employees with practical guidance on the right to equal pay, how to eliminate pay inequalities and how to resolve pay disputes .

The Code of Practice on Sexual Harassment and Harassment in the Workplace sets out what is meant by harassment and sexual harassment in the workplace, how it can be avoided and the steps needed to ensure that organizations are prepared to deal with it and prevent it from happening again. .

As legislation has been tabled by Equality Minister Roderic O’Gorman, the new codes will be legally admissible in evidence in proceedings before the courts, the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labor Court.

IHREC has also been given new legal powers to address gender pay gaps in organizations through the Gender Pay Gap Disclosure Act 2021.

Signed into law by the President last July, but not yet launched, it will require organizations with more than 250 employers to report and publish information about their gender pay gap and, if there is a gap , to explain why there is a discrepancy. and what steps are being taken to reduce it.

Reporting from the organizations is expected to begin this year, IHREC said.

The new Sexual Harassment and Workplace Harassment Code outlines how people in precarious employment and new workers, including immigrant workers, are particularly vulnerable to harassment and sexual harassment and sets out policies and procedures to help creating harassment-free work environments.

Sinéad Gibney, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, said: “Under no circumstances is harassment or sexual harassment in the workplace acceptable. It undermines a person’s dignity and creates an intimidating, degrading and humiliating environment.

“While not all pay disparities are gender-based, it is important on International Women’s Day to highlight pay inequalities for women in particular, who see the work and contributions of undervalued, minimized and neglected women.

We have been given new legal powers to take on cases of gross gender pay gaps, and we are now considering how we can leverage these new legal powers to create real and lasting change by eliminating wage inequality.

Mr O’Gorman said: ‘While this is not exclusively a gender issue, it is appropriate that these measures to tackle pay disparity, harassment and sexual harassment be introduced the week of International Women’s Day, as these issues can have a disproportionate impact on women in the workforce.

“These new codes of practice are a welcome addition to the suite of legislative and policy measures that have been introduced in recent years to advance gender equality.”

Both codes can be viewed here.

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