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Equality Legislation

Equality Legislation

Queen's University Belfast is a diverse, colourful, and truly international campus and workforce

Employing over 3700 members of staff in a range of full time and part time positions, we recognise the importance of complying with our statutory obligations under Section 75 (see below), equality legislation and the various codes of practice.

We strive to ensure our staff, from here and abroad, are treated fairly, with respect and that the University provides a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for all. We also recognise the importance of promoting diversity and inclusivity, and seek to harness the best from our workforce regardless of peoples' age, religion, gender, race, disability and ethnicity etc.


Section 75 and Schedule 9 to the Northern Ireland Act 1998 came into force on the 1 January 2000 and placed a statutory obligation on public authorities in carrying out their various functions relating to Northern Ireland, to have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity -

  • between persons of different religious belief, political opinion, racial group, age, marital status, or sexual orientation;
  • between men and women generally (this includes transgender people);
  • between persons with a disability or long-term medical condition, and persons without; and
  • between persons with dependants and persons without.

In addition, without prejudice to this obligation, public authorities are also required to have regard to the desirability of promoting good relations between persons of different religious belief, political opinion, and race. The statutory obligations are implemented through Equality Schemes, approved by the Equality Commission, and by the screening of policies and the carrying out of Equality Impact Assessments (EQIAs) as required.

Section 75 Annual Progress Report 2018-19


The 9 protected categories under Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 are listed below. Please click on each category for more general information as to how rights relating to each category are protected.
  • AGE

    Employment Equality (Age) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 (the Regulations), make discrimination on grounds of age unlawful in the following areas:

    • employment and occupation;
    • further and higher education;
    • vocational training.

    The Regulations prohibit all employers, regardless of size, from subjecting job applicants and employees, including contract workers and former employees, to age discrimination and harassment. It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate in all aspects of the employment relationship, such as:

    • recruitment and selection;
    • terms and conditions of employment;
    • working environment (conduct and harassment);
    • access to (employment related) benefits;
    • termination of employment – such as dismissal and redundancy; and 
    • post-employment situations – such as the provision of references.

    If you would like further information on age discrimination, please click here.


    Supporting disabled students and staff at the University

    For many years supporting disabled students and staff at Queen’s University has been a key priority. Support – whether by providing easy access to many of our new and refurbished buildings, providing information, training and advice or helping develop peoples’ skills and confidence through programmes such as our Inclusive Employment Scheme is all part of the process of ensuring that we provide a modern, accessible, and rewarding environment for all staff.

    Under Section 49A of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA 1995) (as amended by Article 5 of the Disability Discrimination (Northern Ireland) Order 2006), Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) is required when carrying out its functions to have due regard to the need to:

    • promote positive attitudes towards disabled people; and
    • encourage participation by disabled people in public life

    Disability ActionPlan

    Under Section 49B of the DDA 1995, the University is also required to submit to the Equality Commission a Disability Action Plan showing how it proposes to fulfil these duties in relation to its functions. Going beyond this, the University is actively committed to effectively implementing this. 

    Disability Action Plan (2016-2020).

    This was approved by the University's Standing Committee in Autumn 2016 and submitted to the Equality Commission of Northern Ireland.

    Please click here to view our Disability Action Plan Annual Progress Report 2016-17

    Informing the University of your Disability

    Whereas approximately 3% of people are born with a disability or long-term medical condition, about 20% of us will subsequently develop a disability or long-term medical condition, and indeed many of us at some point in our lives will be needed to provide support to a close family member who develops such a condition.

    Some staff employed at the University will develop a disability during the course of their employment and when this occurs, it is important that they update their online Equality information Queen's Online and where applicable enquire from their HR Business Partner or Assistant HR Business Partner whether or not a reasonable adjustment to their duties or ways of working would be supportive.   

    It is also vitally important that staff with auditory or mobility problems establish with the Fire Safety officer whether or not it is appropriate to have a PEEP (personal emergency evacuation plan) put in place.

    Please contact the Fire Safety Officer on 028 9097 1092 or email

    Disability Support Fund

    The University has a fund in place to help staff with a disability. In recent years the Diversity and Inclusion Unit has been able to assist disabled colleagues by helping to purchase various pieces of office equipment such as large monitors, specialist chairs etc.

    If you feel the University could assist you in this regard please contact us directly on 02890 971046 or email

    Please read the terms of reference of the fund below at the link below and if eligible please click here to download an application form for assistance.

    Disability Support Fund Terms of Reference

    Staff Profiles

    Please to read more about how the University has actively supported staff with disabilities or long-term medical conditions, or staff caring for family members:

    • Francis Keenan - Professor of Astrophysics and Former Head of School of Mathematics and Physics
    • Bronagh Byrne - Lecturer, Social Policy
    • Dr Will Pitner - Postdoctoral Researcher, Chemical Engineer, Ionic Liquids
    • William Houppy - Technician, School of Pharmacy, originally came to Queen's under the Inclusive Employment Scheme and then applied and was successful in gaining employment as a Technician.  Watch a video about his working life at Queen's by clicking on his name above.

    Disability Research Network

    The Disability Research Network at Queen's University is a multi-disciplinary initiative aimed at enhancing collaboration between academics, policymakers, practitioners and community and voluntary sector organisations with an interest in disability studies and research.

    It provides a unique opportunity for members to share knowledge and disseminate the growing body of disability research being carried out in Northern Ireland, stimulate debate about disability issues and develop collaborative partnerships for future disability research and further development of disability policy and practice. For more, please click here to visit their website.


    Gender Equality

    Queen's University is at the forefront of Gender Equality and a recognised leader in equality initiatives. We currently hold two Gold, eight Silver and five Bronze Departmental Athena SWAN Awards and a Silver Institutional Award. 

    Transgender Equality

    The University fully recognises its responsibility to protect the rights of transgender people and to ensure that no individual is subject to discrimination or victimisation as a result of the gender in which they present themselves. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming community where staff and students are enabled to meet their full potential and are treated as individuals. Please click here to view a copy of the University's Trans Equality Policy. 

    The policy is aimed at providing advice, support and guidance to individuals who wish to take, or have taken, steps to present themselves in a sex different to that assigned to them at birth. We recognise that this can a very difficult and complex time for people and wish to act in a sensitive and supportive way by having helpful policies and practices in place to ease any transitional period.

    We also hope that the policy will be of assistance to QUB management and staff who are required to provide advice, guidance and assistance to Trans colleagues or students.

    The following documents have been provided to help staff and students understand some of the issues, language and appropriate: 

    These documents are for guidance purposes only and may be updated based upon any feedback which is received by the Diversity and Inclusion Unit.

    You may find the external links below of some further assistance. However, please note that the University is not responsible for the content which appears on third party websites (click on the bullet points below to follow the links).


    You are protected from discrimination and harassment in the workplace on the grounds of your sexual orientation. The law also covers individuals who are treated worse than others due to incorrect assumptions about their sexual orientation or because they associate with people of a particular sexual orientation. If you identify as belonging to the LGBT+ community, you can join our LGBT+ Staff Network. If you would like to find out more about the Staff LGBT+ Network, its meetings, events etc, then please click here to email us or phone us on 028 9097 1046. 


    Individuals are protected from unfair treatment on racial grounds, which constitute unlawful discrimination. ‘Racial grounds’ include colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origins, or being a member of the Irish Traveller community.


    The University upholds fair treatment of all staff members, including those of married or civil partnership status under the Sex Discrimination (Northern Ireland) Order 1976. For more, please click here.


    Under Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, Queen's University, as an employer, must ensure there is equality of opportunity for staff who have dependants and those without. A dependant is the spouse, partner, child or parent of the member of staff.  A dependant could also be someone who lives in the household with the member of staff and is dependant on them, for example, an elderly aunt or grandparent who lives in the household. Queen's offer a range of Work-Life Balance Policies to assist staff who have dependants such as Dependant Leave, Career Break, Parental Leave, Flexible Working, Childcare Vouchers. Details of all our family friendly policies can be viewed here. For further information on support available for Carers at Queen's please visit the Carers section of the Wellbeing Site.  Another useful resource is the Carers NI website which provides help and advice regarding practical and financial support available as well as support networks you can avail of.


    You are protected from discrimination on the grounds of your religious or similar philosophical belief. For more, please click here.


    In Northern Ireland you are protected from discrimination on the grounds of your political opinion. For more, please click here.