O'Loughlin (complainant) vs Irish Medical Council (respondent) Represented by McDowell Purcell Solicitors: Equality Officer Decision DEC-E 2003/046 (Coyle G.) 22nd October, 2003
1. This dispute concerns a claim by Dr. Catherine O'Loughlin that she was discriminated against and harassed by the Irish Medical Council in terms of Sections 6(1), 6(2)(a) and 6(2)(h) of the Employment Equality Act, 1998 and in contravention of Section 8 and 13 of that Act. The complainant alleges that she was victimised by the respondent in terms of Section 74(2) of the 1998 Act. The complainant has also made a claim under an equality clause and a claim in relation to a collective agreement.
2. The complainant referred a complaint to the Director of Equality Investigations on 7th March, 2002 under the Employment Equality Act, 1998. In accordance with her powers under Section 75 of that Act the Director then delegated the case to Gerardine Coyle, Equality Officer on 25th October, 2002 for investigation, hearing and decision and for the exercise of other relevant functions of the Director under Part VII of the Act.
3. The parties to this claim made written submissions to the Equality Officer. On 21st February, 2003 the Equality Officer wrote to the parties setting a date for a joint hearing in this claim to take place on 21st October, 2003. Between February and October, 2003 the Equality Officer received further submissions from the complainant. All of this information is available to the Labour Court should it require access to it in the event of an appeal.
4. The complainant did not attend the hearing on 21st October, 2003 and that morning sent an email to the Director of Equality Investigations indicating that she was not attending. The complainant's correspondence has been considered in detail. In my view it discloses no reasonable ground for her refusal to attend. The respondent's representative asked that it be noted that it had a number of preliminary issues (including a new one) it wished to raise in the event of an appeal. Having regard to the detailed submissions and the complainant's failure to attend the joint hearing in this claim I find that the complainant has failed to establish a prima facie claim of discrimination and/or harassment on the grounds of gender or race. She has also failed to substantiate her claim of victimisation, her claim under an equality clause and her claim in relation to a collective agreement.
22nd October, 2003