SECTION 77, EMPLOYMENT EQUALITY ACT, 1998
GRAHAM ANTHONY &COMPANY LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY DENIS MC SWEENEY SOLICITORS)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY MANDATE)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Alleged unfair dismissal under Section 77 of the Employment Equality Act 1998.
2. The background to this case is the same as the background in Determination No. ADE/03/1and that case should be read in conjunction with this case.The claimant was employed by the respondent as a Sales Assistant from 11th September 2000 until 4th December 2000. She alleges she was discriminated against at interview stage and was subjected to the Employer's bias in relation to her age, marital status and family status.She states that this discrimination continued during her employment with the respondent and that she was dismissed because of her age, marital and family status. She referred her case to the Court under Section 77 of the Employment Equality Act 1997. A Labour Court hearing took place in Galway on 5th October 2001.
The Union submitted that Ms Margetts was discriminated against at interview stage and was subject to her employer's bias in relation to her age, marital status and family status. The discrimination continued during her employment. The Union stated that due to her numerous requests for full time work she was treated differently on the three stated grounds.The complainant claims that she was dismissed from her employment on grounds of her age, marital status and family status. Her Union brought a claim on her behalf seeking redress pursuant to Section 77(2)(a) of the Employment Equality Act, 1998, (the Act).
The respondent denied that the complainant’s age, marital status and family status are factors which influenced the decision to terminate her employment. The respondent's managing director indicated that he was aware of her age, marital status and family status when she was recruited. He told the Court that the complainant was dismissed before the end of her first 13 weeks. He had received a poor job reference from a previous employer. In addition the complainant had been given a number of verbal warnings concerning missing testers, and over use of jewellery. The complainant had also constantly complained about her hours of work. Taking all these factors into consideration the respondents decided to dismiss her.
It was submitted that the respondent had not given the complainant an opportunity to defend herself as she was not given details of any allegations made against her, nor was she given the reasons for her dismissal. It was further submitted that the respondent had failed to follow fair procedure in reaching the decision to terminate the complainant’s employment by not allowing her an opportunity to avail of representation at the meeting at which she was dismissed.
Conclusions of the Court:
In this case, the onus is on the complainant to establish, on facts from which it may be implied that age, marital status and family status were the determining factors which led to the decision to terminate her employment. The Court is not satisfied that such facts have been established on the evidence adduced. Whilst there may have been a certain degree of unfairness in the manner in which the decision to dismiss the complainant was reached, unfairness is not in itself determinative of discrimination.
The Court is not adjudicating on whether the dismissal was fair or unfair but whether under the Employment Equality Act, 1998, she was treated differently because she was separated, had two children and because of her age.
The Court, therefore, rejects the Union’s claim that the complainant was dismissed in circumstances amounting to discrimination.
The Court finds that the complainant was not discriminated against within the meaning of the Act and the complaint herein is dismissed.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
Enquiries concerning this Determination should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.