EMPLOYERS are now taking sex discrimination seriously and are increasingly aware of the pay-outs they face if they do not ensure equality for workers, the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) says.
In her 1994 annual report EOC chair Kamlesh Bahl says the year marked "significant progress", in the promotion of equality.
She says the commission received 42,921 enquiries throughout the year - up 8.5 per cent from 39,557 - and both employees and employers are becoming more aware of their rights and obligations.
Bahl welcomes the Government's decision to amend its protection laws regarding the treatment of part-time workers, and highlights the seven-fold increase in the level of sex discrimination awards, following the removal of the upper limit in the Marshall case.
However, she says the commission still faces a number of challenges including boosting pay levels for women, who currently receive an average of 79 per cent of the hourly rate paid to men.
Bahl says the EOC will also work on obtaining equal treatment in the pensions and benefits system and in education and training.