Equal Status Act 2000
Brian Maughan -V- Brady's Public House
Equal Status Act, 2000 - Direct discrimination, Section 3(1)(a) - Traveller Ground, Section 3(2)(i) - Disposal of goods and supply of services, Section 5(1) - Prima facie case.
1.1 This dispute concerns a claim by Brian Maughan that on 15 July 2002, he was treated in a discriminatory manner by the respondent. The complainant 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 this and other relevant functions of the Director under Part III of the Equal Status Act.
2.1 The complaint in this matter was lodged to the Tribunal on 14 January 2003 under the applicable Act at that time, the Equal Status Act 2000. The complainant indicated that notification had been made by letter dated 10 September 2002 issued by the complainant's representative to the respondent. In subsequent correspondence the respondent indicated that statutory notification, as required under the terms of Section 21 of the Act had not been complied with by the complainant and that the respondent had not received notification of the alleged incident of discrimination until after the deadline for receipt of notification, i.e 14 September 2002, had passed.
2.2 The notification was queried by the Tribunal with the complainant's representative who was asked to provide evidence of notification, e.g. proof of postage of the notification. The complainant's representative subsequently submitted documentation including:
* Copy letter of notification dated 10 September 2002 to the respondent
* Copy extract from representative's post book showing an entry for the letter in question dated 10 September 2002 with no indication as to method of posting
* Statutory Declaration of Service indicating that notification was posted on 11 September 2002, while the endorsement of service on the same document indicated that the notification had been posted on 13 September 2002
* Copy of statement made by the complainant
* Letter stating that notification was issued by ordinary post on 11 September 2002, not registered, accompanied by copy extract of representative's post book indicating that notification was made by registered post
2.3 In the circumstances and given the inconsistencies contained in the material submitted by the complainant's representative, both parties were notified that the matter of notification would be dealt with as a preliminary issue at the scheduled Hearing of this complaint.
3. Outcome of Hearing
3.1 The documentation submitted by the complainant's representative in relation to notification does not clarify matters and raises more questions than it answers. However, the representative provided oral evidence to the effect that he had personally posted notification, by ordinary post on 11 September 2002 and this is consistent with the Statutory Declaration of Service submitted. While I accept that the respondent did not receive the notification until 18 September 2002, I also accept that the notification was posted on time. In the circumstances I deem the notification to be in time and I will proceed to deal with the substantive complaint below.
3.2 The complainant is a member of the Traveller community and this is not disputed by the respondent. The respondent states that he knew the complainant's brother who was accompanying the complainant on the day in question and had previously served the brother in the premises. It is common case that the complainant was refused service by the respondent on the date in question.
3.3 Having taken all of the evidence into consideration I am satisfied that the complainant was refused service by the respondent on the basis of his appearance, behaviour and demeanour on the day in question. The respondent stated that a member of his staff called him to deal with the complainant because of his concerns over the complainant's dishevelled appearance, including a number of cuts to the complainant's face.
3.4 While the complainant states that he was not intoxicated on the day in question a number of witnesses for the respondent gave evidence of the complainant's apparent intoxicated demeanour including that when the complainant was initially refused service by the respondent he left the premises by one door, re-entered by another door and took a seat and seemed oblivious to the fact that he had, in fact, re-entered the same premises.
3.5 The complainant has produced no evidence to support his complaint and his brother, who accompanied him on the day in question, did not attend at the Hearing as a witness on behalf of the complainant. On balance I am satisfied that the complainant has failed to establish that he was treated by the respondent in a manner which was less favourable than the treatment that a non-Traveller would receive in the same or similar circumstances.
The complainant has failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination on the ground of membership of the Traveller community covered by the Equal Status Act 2000.
7 June, 2006