Property website Daft.ie breached anti-discrimination laws in rental ads it hosted online, the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has found.
In a finding recent publishing, the WRC found that ads hosted on the popular property website breached sections of the Equal Status Acts. The advertisements, the WRC found, discriminated on the basis of age, employment status and against those in receipt of housing assistance.
The case was taken by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) in 2016, after it received repeated complaints about ads hosted on the platform. The ads in question included terms such as “rent allowance not accepted”, “suit family or professionals only”, and “would suit young professionals”.
The WRC found that Daft had “vicarious liability” for the content posted on its site, despite the company’s argument that it was not an advertiser, but rather was an “information society service provider” and acted as a “mere conduit”.
The IHREC said that the judgement had “much greater, wider significance”, and could set a precedent for large tech companies resident in Ireland which claim that they are not liable for the content they host on their platforms.
Tony Geoghegan, a commissioner with the IHREC, said that ads such as those hosted on Daft.ie “perpetuate an unconscious idea that poor people are bad tenants.”
“It has much wider ramifications. The reason we took the case was on housing and equal status, but it has bigger ramifications on a wider level in terms of social media and how that will be managed,” Geoghegan said.
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