Equal Status Act 2000-2004
Equality Officer Decision DEC-S2006- 053
Proprietor Foley's Bar
Equal Status Acts 2000-2004- Direct discrimination, Section 3(1)(a)- Traveller Community Ground, Section 3(2)(i)- Disposal of Goods and Services, Section 5(1)- Refusal of service- Non attendance at hearing by complainant-Establishment of prima facie case
Delegation under the Equal Status Act 2000
This complaint was referred 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 has delegated the complaint to me Mary O'Callaghan, 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 -2004. The hearing of the case took place in Limerick on Thursday 15th June, 2006.
1.1 The complainant alleges that he was subjected to discriminatory treatment when he went to Foley's Bar in Rathkeale on 22nd December 2002 and was refused service. He maintained in his complaint that this treatment is in breach of the Equal Status Act 2000 in terms of Section 3 (2) (i) and contrary to Section 5 (1) of the Act, i.e. that he was refused access to goods and services because of his membership of the Traveller community.
2. Outline of Events
2.1 Letters were issued to both parties to the complaint on 22nd March 2006 notifying them of the date time and venue of the hearing. In the case of the complainant this notice was sent to his named legal representative and in the case of the respondent, the letter was sent directly to the address for the bar premises provided by the complainant. I am satisfied that valid notification of the hearing was made to the parties. Both parties were asked to confirm their attendance at the hearing. Neither party confirmed attendance before the day of the hearing. On the date of the hearing a phone call was received on behalf of the respondent indicating attendance at the hearing. At the appointed time for the hearing a representative of the respondent was in attendance in place of the named respondent who was unwell. The complainant was not in attendance.
2.2 At this time I indicated to the respondent's representative that I would allow 20 minutes to the complainant in order for him to make contact with the Tribunal or to arrive late if he had been unavoidably delayed. Following the twenty minutes there was no appearance from the complainant and I contacted the Equality Tribunal Offices in Dublin by phone to check if any communication had been received from the complainant regarding his non attendance at the hearing of his complaint. It was confirmed to me that no communication had been received from the complainant or his representative. I also confirmed with the reception desk of the hearing venue that no messages had been received regarding this case. At this point I reconvened the hearing and explained to the respondent's representative in attendance that the complainant must establish a prima-facie case of discrimination on the ground complained of if his complaint is to succeed. In this case the complainant did not attend the hearing and thus could not establish a prima facie case of discrimination. The respondent, therefore, had no case to answer and the case would be dismissed.
3.1 I find that Patrick Quilligan has not established a prima facie case of discrimination on the ground of his membership of the Traveller community and accordingly his complaint of discrimination (ES/2003/0115) is not upheld -DEC-S2006-053
21st June 2006