Assembly Committee examines legislation to end religious discrimination in school recruitment

Session: Session currently unavailable

Date: 02 February 2022

Reference: CFTEO 02/21/22

The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for the Executive Office has begun its examination of the Fair Employment (School Teachers) Bill. The Bill aims to amend fair employment legislation to ensure schools are no longer permitted to use religious beliefs as grounds in deciding who to recruit to teaching posts.

Chairperson of the Committee, Sinéad McLaughlin MLA said: “Fair employment legislation exists here to make it illegal for employers to discriminate on the grounds of religion and political opinion.  However, along with clergy, the recruitment of teachers is currently exempt from such legislation. 

“The Fair Employment (School Teachers) Bill aims to remove the exception for school teachers, and put them in the same position as other employees across Northern Ireland.  Removing the exception will also mean that employers of teachers will not have to monitor the community background of applicants, and that teachers will not be able to bring a complaint of religious discrimination relating to recruitment.

“Although this Bill has come to the Committee very late on in the mandate, we are committed to examining its proposals and listening to the views of those who could be affected by the Bill. We have designed a short survey to gather views on what people think of the Bill’s proposals.  We look forward to learning the results of the consultation and making recommendations on the Bill to the Assembly.”

The Committee has launched a public consultation to ask people for their views on the Bill and what it proposes. You can access the consultation’s survey here:



Notes to Editors

  • The Fair Employment (School Teachers) Bill is a Private Member’s Bill. It was introduced to the Assembly on Monday 17 January by Chris Lyttle MLA.

Executive Office Committee Membership:

Committee Chairperson:  Sinéad McLaughlin MLA

Deputy Chairperson: John Stewart MLA


Pádraig Delargy MLA

Diane Dodds MLA

Alex Easton MLA

Trevor Lunn MLA

Pat Sheehan MLA

Emma Sheerin MLA

Christopher Stalford MLA


For any media enquiries, please contact:

Caroline Moore

Deputy Communications Officer

Northern Ireland Assembly

Tel: 028 90 52 1606