EMPLOYMENT EQUALITY ACTS, 1998 AND 2004
Decision No. : DEC-E2005-055
Ms Regina Flynn
Kildare County Council
(Represented by the Local Government Management Services Board)
File No.: EE/2004/118
Date of Issue : 18 November, 2005
The dispute concerns a complaint that Kildare County Council discriminated against the complainant on the grounds of age contrary to the provisions of the Employment Equality Act, 1998 in the conduct of a competition to appoint Temporary Clerical Officers.
2.1 The complainant, who was interviewed for a Temporary Clerical Officer position by the respondent, believes that she was discriminated against on the grounds of her age when she was not placed on the panel of successful candidates.
2.2 The complainant referred a complaint to the Director of the Equality Tribunal on 25th May, 2004. In accordance with her powers under section 75 of the 1998 Act, the Director delegated the case to an Equality Officer, for investigation, hearing and decision on 8th February, 2005 and for the exercise of other relevant functions of the Director under Part VII of the Act. The Equality Officer to whom the complaint had been delegated requested, for personal reasons, that the complaint be delegated to another Equality Officer and the Director delegated the complaint to Raymund Walsh on 10th October, 2005. A hearing of the complaint was held on 10th November, 2005.
3. SUMMARY OF THE CLAIMANT'S CASE
3.1 The complainant states that she responded to a public advertisement for the position of Temporary Clerical Officer with Kildare County Council and attended for interview. The complainant sets out in her statement that she felt that the two person interview board, which kept her waiting beforehand, was dismissive of her. She believes that she was well qualified for the position and performed well at interview, particularly when she was asked about the role of the local authority. The complainant believes that she was discriminated against on the grounds of her age when she was not placed on the panel of successful candidates.
4. SUMMARY OF RESPONDENT'S CASE
4.1 The respondent states that 22 candidates were interviewed for positions, 15 candidates were placed on a panel of successful candidates and 7 were deemed unsuitable. The complainant, based on her performance at interview, was deemed unsuitable. The respondent presented a tabular statement of the marks awarded to the 22 candidates under the headings of Education, Experience, Communications / Interpersonal Skills and Knowledge of Local Government. While the complainant was awarded 85% under Education, her 40% mark for Knowledge of Local Government was below the 50% pass mark under each heading. Her marks, when totaled, would have ranked her 16th in the competition.
4.2 The respondent stated that it did not ask candidates to give their age on their application form and did not have any specific information with regard to the age of candidates. However for the purposes of this investigation it estimated the age of candidates based on the year they completed second level education and presented this information at the hearing.
4.3 The respondent stated that its interview boards are conducted in a professional manner and that all interview board members were given a copy of the Notes for Members of Interview Boards prepared by the Local Authority Personnel Officers Network in conjunction with the Local Government Management Services Board which sets out procedures for the conduct of selection interviews and the respondent's commitment to equality of opportunity.
5. CONCLUSIONS OF THE EQUALITY OFFICER
5.1 The matter for consideration is whether or not the respondent discriminated against the complainant on the grounds of her age in terms of Section 6(2) of the Employment Equality Act, 1998 and contrary to Section 8 of that Act. In making my decision I have taken into account all of the evidence, both written and oral, made to me by the parties to the case. The onus in the first instance is for the complainant to demonstrate prima facie that she was discriminated against on the age ground.
5.2 I have examined the age profile of candidates provided by the respondent and note that the average age of successful candidates at 34 was slightly older than that of the unsuccessful candidates at 33. I note also that one successful candidate was about the same age as the complainant while another was about 7 years older than her. From those figures I could see no evidence of preferential treatment of younger candidates and the complainant offered no other evidence in support of her allegation that she was discriminated against on the age ground. I must conclude therefore that the complainant has failed to adduce any prima facie evidence on which a presumption of discriminatory treatment could be based. In her initial referral of her complaint to the Tribunal the complainant also indicated that she felt victimised within the meaning of the 1998 Act however no evidence to this affect was offered.
6.1 On the basis of the foregoing, I find that the respondent did not discriminate against the complainant on the grounds of her age in terms of Section 6(2) of the Employment Equality Act, 1998 contrary to the provisions of Section 8 of that Act.
18 November, 2005