independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

New law 'to protect gay teachers'

Senator Ivana Bacik will propose Labour's Bill in the Seanad on March 13

Gay or lesbian teachers in fear of losing their job because of their sexuality are to be protected under proposed new legislation.

The Bill calling for a change in employment equality laws to help stamp out discrimination in the workplace has been published.

A group of Labour TDs and senators hope the planned new laws will prevent the dismissal of teachers or health staff whose life choices are seen as undermining the religious ethos of where they work.

Aodhan O Riordain said it will see the law finally catch up with public opinion.

"As a teacher and former principal this is an issue I feel passionate about. I worked with colleagues who could have lost their jobs simply for being gay or not being married," the Dublin North Central TD said. "These people were my friends and some of the best teachers I ever knew."

The proposed employment equality amendment would put an end to staff in educational or medical institutions being discriminated against for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

It would also deliver protection to workers who have children outside marriage or who are divorced, according to the parliamentarians.

Senator Ivana Bacik will propose the party's Bill in the Seanad on March 13.

Labour TD Dominic Hannigan, who is also involved with the new Bill, said it would bring the country one step closer to full equality.

"The climate of fear which the original Employment Equality Act has created is one which this Bill will bring to an end," he said.

Press Association

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