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The Fair Employment (School Teachers) Bill which was passed in the Northern Ireland Assembly on 24 March 2022 has now come into operation.
NASUWT - The teachers’ union, celebrates the fact that it will now finally be unlawful to discriminate against teachers in respect of all aspects of the employment of teachers in schools in Northern Ireland, including recruitment and selection for promotion.

The Union has warmly welcomed the implementation of the Fair Employment (School Teachers) Act (NI) 2022 which has finally come into operation, two years after Royal Assent was given to the Bill.

Previously, the law allowed for an exemption in relation to equality of opportunity and fair participation in employment for members of the Protestant and Roman Catholic communities in Northern Ireland.

The practical effect of this is that it until now it was not unlawful to discriminate against someone in an appointment process on the basis of their religious belief.

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary, said:

“The NASUWT welcome the fact that this legislation is now operational. Teachers should always have had the same legal protection as other workers and despite taking two years to become operational, this development is nevertheless welcome.

“Discrimination is damaging to children’s education and to the wellbeing and careers of teachers. Removing the exemption will support efforts to tackle prejudice and hatred and will help schools to nurture and promote social inclusion.

“No teacher should be denied the opportunity to teach or to lead schools based on their religious belief.”

NASUWT National Official Northern Ireland Justin McCamphill said:

“The NASUWT have been campaigning for the removal of the exemption to the Fair Employment and Treatment Order for many years.
“We celebrate that teachers are no longer second-class citizens in Northern Ireland and will have the same protections in law as all other employees.

“Employers have had two years to get their houses in order as regards the employment of teachers. The NASUWT will be paying close attention to the long-standing practice of bringing teachers in without interview by misusing the NISTR register and the chronic level of nepotism in teacher appointments.

“If any NASUWT member believes that they have been discriminated against on the basis of their religious belief they should contact the union immediately.”


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