Fiona Hughes, May Ennis & Jenny McCartin V Helen Mulhall
Equal Status Act, 2000 - Direct discrimination, Section 3(1)(a) - Marital Status Ground, Section 3(2)(b) - Age Ground, Section 3(2)(f) - Provision of Accommodation, Section 6 - Prima Facie case.
1.1 This dispute concerns claim by Fiona Hughes, May Ennis and Jenny McCartin that on 16 January 2002, they were treated in a discriminatory manner by the respondent. The complainants each referred a claim to the Director of Equality Investigations 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 me, Dolores Kavanagh, 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.
2. Summary of Complainants' Case
2.1 The complainants, all students, stated in their written complaints that they were treated in a discriminatory manner by the respondent, whose property they sought to rent, on 16 January, 2002 when they sought, through a representative, to acquire accommodation for a Bank Holiday weekend. The complainant's representative was told by a property letting agent that the respondent did not take groups of young people or students and only catered for families. The complainants state that this discriminated against them on the marital status ground and the age ground under the Equal Status Act 2000.
3. Summary of Respondent's Case
3.1 The respondent states that she advertised her property through a Dublin letting agency. The agency contacted her by telephone on the date in question and the respondent informed the agent that she did not let her property to groups. This latter statement was based on the respondent's previous experience of letting to groups of all ages which resulted in damage to the respondent's property on a number of occasions (three specific incidents cited).
4 Outcome of Hearing - Prima Facie Case
4.1. The complainants did not attend at the scheduled Hearing of her complaint on 14 October 2004. As the complainants were not present at the Hearing they failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination
The complainants have not established a prima facie case of discrimination on any of the grounds covered by the Equal Status Act 2000. I find therefore that the complainants were not discriminated against on any of the grounds covered in the Act contrary to Section 3(1)(a), and 3(2) of the Equal Status Act 2000 and in terms of Section 6 of that Act.
29 October, 2004