Equality Bodies

Equality bodies are champions for the core EU value of equality and defenders of the right to non-discrimination.

They are public organisations assisting victims of discrimination, monitoring and reporting on discrimination issues, and contributing to an awareness of rights and a societal valuing of equality. They are legally required to do so in relation to one, some, or all of the grounds of discrimination covered by European Union (EU) law – gender, race and ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, religion or belief, and disability.They play a fundamental role in the non-discrimination architecture of the EU.

How do equality bodies help victims of discrimination?

Their role is defined in accordance with EU equal treatment legislation requiring Member States to set up equality bodies to combat discrimination based on race and ethnic origin[1], as well as gender[2]. Many Member States have gone beyond these requirements and ensured that equality bodies can also deal with discrimination based on other grounds.

These bodies have a distinct role from national governments and civil society organisations. They promote equality and ensure that equal treatment legislation is applied by:

  • Investigating cases of discrimination
  • Building a culture that values equality
  • Providing information and in some cases legal support to potential victims
  • Monitoring and reporting on discrimination issues
  • Conducting research and providing policy recommendations
  • Engaging with public bodies, employers and NGOs to foster non-discriminatory practices and ensure awareness and compliance with equal treatment legislation