I have an issue about a club - IHREC - Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

I have an issue about a club

Discrimination in relation to goods and services happens when you are treated less favourably than other people because of who you are.  The Equal Status Acts 2000-2018 (ESA) makes certain kinds of discrimination unlawful in relation to specific categories of people. Clubs are one of the services covered by the ESA.

The ESA has different rules according to different kinds of club. There are two kinds of clubs:

  • Non-registered clubs,  which do not have a license to sell alcohol
  • Registered clubs, which have a license to sell alcohol

Non-registered clubs:

Non-registered clubs cannot discriminate under any of the nine grounds covered by the ESA when providing goods and services that are available to the public, or a section of the public.

There are some situations in which the ESA allows non-registered clubs to treat people differently.  These are called exemptions. For more information on exemptions under the ESA click on:

You can complain about a non-registered club which discrimintaes against you by going to the Workplace Relations Commission.

Read more about how to make a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission

Registered clubs

Registered clubs cannot discriminate under any of the nine grounds covered by the ESA that concern the provision of goods and services that are available to the public, or a section of the public.

Example A registered club provides a parking facility that is not exclusively available to the members of the club but to members of the public generally. This service is available to the public generally. Therefore, the complaint should be made to the Workplace Relations Commission.

If, however, the discrimination relates to the registered clubs’ rules, such as who can become a member, or conditions of membership, the complaint must be made to the District Court.

Read more about how to make a complaint to the District Court

There are some situations in which the Equal Status Acts 2000 – 2018 (ESA) allows people to be treated differently in relation to registered clubs.  These are called exemptions.  The main kinds of exemptions which apply registered clubs are:

  • Clubs for particular category of persons protected under the ESA: For example, it is not discrimination to have a club for LGBT people, for example.
  • Special events: For example, a tennis club can have a men’s tournament, so long as it also has a women’s tournament. It can also have events just for children, or for people with disabilities.  Apart from in the case of gender, the club does not have to balance the special event with another one, such as a tournament for older people.
  • Different kinds of membership: For example, a club can offer a choice of full membership, off-peak membership, and so on.
  • People who were excluded in the past: For example, golf clubs which used to refuse women to become members can offer special rates to encourage them to join now.


Do you think this you have been discriminated against, or are being discriminated against in relation to a club?