Mr. William Hennessy V Ms. Bríd Lennon (represented by Thos. F. Griffin & Co. Solicitors)
The complainant referred a claim to the Director of Equality Investigations on 7 February, 2001 under the Equal Status Act 2000. In accordance with her powers under section 75 of the Employment Equality Act 1998 and under the Equal Status Act 2000, the Director then delegated the case to Marian Duffy, an Equality Officer, for investigation, hearing and decision and for the exercise of other relevant functions of the Director under Part III of the Equal Status Act, 2000.
1.1 The complainant, Mr. William Hennessy, alleged that he was discriminated against by the respondent, Ms. Bríd Lennon, on the gender, marital status, age, disability and victimisation grounds of the Equal Status Act, 2000 and contrary to Section 3 of that Act. He also alleged harassment contrary to Section 11 of the Act.
The complainant lodged a complaint with the Office on 7 February, 2001. Correspondence which was received in connection with the complaint was passed between the parties. A hearing of the case was arranged for 24 October, 2001 and the complainant failed to appear. The respondent and her solicitor attended. Since the complainant had cited disability as one of the grounds for claiming discrimination, the hearing was adjourned to allow him to provide an explanation, in case his absence was due to illness. The complainant indicated in further contact with the Equality Officer that he had changed address and had not got notification of the hearing in time.
On 1 April, 2003, the complainant was notified at the latest address he gave the Office of a hearing of the case which was arranged for 19 May, 2003 at 2pm in the Anner Hotel, Thurles. The complainant was asked to notify the Office of his attendance at this hearing but he did not do so. On 13 May, 2003 I e-mailed the complainant and gave him details of the hearing and asked him to respond to the hearing notification and to contact me immediately. I also sent a copy of the hearing details to him by registered post. I got no response. The complainant again failed to turn up at the hearing which was arranged for 19 May, 2003. The respondent and her solicitor attended.
I am concerned that the respondent turned up on two occasions with her solicitor and incurred legal costs and other expenses. I have no power under the Act to award her costs or any other redress in respect of the complainant's failure to appear. I would also like to point out that there is a cost to the public, in that the Office's time has been wasted and unnecessary costs incurred, due to the fact the complainant did not appear for the hearing.
In the circumstances I find that the complainant has failed to establish a prima facie case of discriminatory treatment contrary to the Equal Status Act, 2000.
10 June, 2003