The Fair Employment (School Teachers) Bill ends an exemption to the Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998. The FETO bans discrimination on the grounds of religious belief and political opinion in a number of settings. Seventeen thousand public sector workers are employed as teachers in NI, but until this legislation comes into force, they will remain the only profession explicitly excluded from this protection.
The National Secular Society (NSS) has strongly supported the private member bill introduced by Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle, as well as previous efforts to end the exemption. The NSS has also called on the independent review of education to support efforts to end religious discrimination against teachers in NI. Ending the FETO exemption has long enjoyed public and teaching union support, but has been resisted by religious sectoral bodies who control schools and the governing bodies that appoint teachers.
Research by Ulster University's School of Education in 2019, showed that exemptions to anti-discrimination protections were contributing to segregation . . .
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