The number of cases of racial discrimination in the workplace referred to the Equality Tribunal reached 307 last year, an increase of over 100% on the previous year.

The tribunal's annual report published today also shows a 65% increase in the number of cases of discrimination against those with a disability in accessing services compared to 2006.

Overall, the Equality Tribunal dealt with 850 complaints last year, a 36% increase on the previous year.

Cases of discrimination on the grounds of race and disability saw the biggest jump in figures last year, the report says.

The number of cases of racial discrimination accounted for almost half of the claims relating to employment, of which there were 667.

There were 89 cases brought to the tribunal on the grounds of discrimination in the workplace against those with a disability, an increase of 59% on the previous year.

The average compensation payment awarded by the tribunal was €14,431. This compares to €10,113 for the previous year. The highest award was €125,000.

The cases handled by the tribunal include that of two former employees of An Post who were awarded more than €70,000 each because a company scheme which was not available to employees over 60 was found to be discriminatory.

A rheumatology nurse who was orginally from South Africa was awarded €25,000 for discrimination by St James's Hospital when she was not promoted to a managerial post for which the tribunal said she was the most highly qualified.

In another case, the a woman who was asked to leave a Centra convenience store because she had her guide dog with her was awarded €3,000.

The equality officer dealing with the case ordered that all staff at the shop be trained in equality law provisions.

The Equality Tribunal was set up in 1999 and since then almost 14,000 people have brought claims of discrimination to the tribunal.