After more than twenty years in the general civil service, in 1999 Melanie Pine was appointed as the first Director of the Equality Tribunal. Over the following ten years, she was responsible for its establishment and development into an internationally respected forum at first instance for discrimination cases in employment and equal status. Many of its decisions were ground-breaking in a European as well as an Irish context. As Director she held quasi-judicial functions as well as leadership and management responsibilities.
Both the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2008 and the Equal Status Acts 2008 were internationally innovative in that they deepened and extended protection against discrimination in two ways: first in extending protection beyond the traditional grounds of gender and marital status to the new grounds of disability, age, race, religion, sexual orientation, family status and membership of the Traveller community, and, secondly in extending the protection to everyday life through their application to access to goods and services.
As Director, Melanie has addressed legal practitioners, academics and general audiences at conferences in Ireland, throughout the European Union and in Indonesia and South America. She also participated actively in meetings of the European Labour Court Judges Association under the auspices of the International Labour Organisation.
Melanie has an M.Sc. in Public Sector Strategic Management, was accredited as a mediator and holds other academic management qualifications. In her previous civil service career, she had primarily dealt with employment-related matters, including the development of labour market and training policy, primary and secondary legislative proposals, industrial relations and human resource management. She also served in the Irish Embassy in London as labour attaché and acted as press officer for three years in the Department of Labour.
In May 2010 Melanie stepped down from the Equality Tribunal to pursue a number of other interests. She is currently a member of the National Review Panel on Deaths and Serious Incidents of Children in Care.