Patrick Mongan & John Mongan
Kenny's Public House, Galway
Equal Status Act, 2000 - Direct discrimination, section 3(1)(a) - Membership of the Traveller community, Section 3(2)(i) - Disposal of goods and supply of services, Section 5(1) - Refusal of service in a pub - Prima Facie case.
1.1 This dispute concerns claims by Patrick and John Mongan that they were discriminated against by the respondent, contrary to the Equal Status Act, 2000, on the grounds that they are members of the Traveller community in that on 24 November, 2002, they were refused service in the respondent premises.
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 Complainant's Case.
2.1 The complainants state that they went to Kenny's Public House on the evening of 24 November, 2002 to celebrate a family occasion. They were refused service by the respondent who stated that he would not serve "outside Travellers".
3. Respondent's Case
3.1 The respondent failed to attend at the scheduled Hearing of these complaints, having confirmed by telephone that he was in receipt of the Tribunal's correspondence with regard to the Hearing. In written material provided by the respondent prior to the Hearing he accepted that he had refused to serve the complainants but denies that discrimination occurred. He stated that on the evening in question he was overwrought due to difficult personal circumstances (details provided) and that he served local Travellers on an ongoing basis. He refused the complainant because he had had trouble with "outside Travellers". He apologised to the complainants for any offence caused by the refusal
4 Prima Facie Case
4.1 Mr. John Mongan, complainant, did not attend at the scheduled Hearing of these complaints and could not therefore establish a prima facie case of discrimination on the Traveller community ground.
The complainant, Patrick Mongan, is a Traveller and this is not disputed by the respondent. It is common case that the complainant was refused service in the respondent premises.
The respondent refused service to Mr. Patrick Mongan on the basis that he was an "outside Traveller". The respondent provided no evidence to indicate that he had, in fact, previously had difficulty with "outside Travellers" or that he would treat "outside non-Travellers" in the same manner.
I am satisfied that the complainant, Patrick Mongan has established , in accordance with Section 38.A. of the Equal Status Acts 2000-2004, a prima facie case of discrimination by the respondent on the Traveller community ground which the respondent has failed to rebut.
At the Hearing of his complaint Mr. Patrick Mongan indicated that the respondent's behaviour also constituted harassment on the Traveller community ground. I note that no previous indication had been given by the complainant to either the respondent or the Tribunal in this regard. This deprived the respondent of the opportunity to respond to such a claim. Furthermore, the actions which the complainant states constitute harassment by the respondent are the same actions giving rise to the claim of discrimination and, I am satisfied, have been fully dealt with in relation to that claim
5.1 I find that Mr. John Mongan has failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination on the Traveller community ground and in relation to his complaint the finding if in favour of the respondent.
I find that Mr. Patrick Mongan was discriminated against on the Traveller community ground in terms of Section 3(1) and 3(2)(i) of the Equal Status Act and contrary to Section 5(1) of that Act.
6.1 I hereby order the respondent to pay to the complainant, Patrick Mongan, the sum of €150 for the effects of the discrimination. In making this award I have taken account fact that, while the discriminatory actions of the respondent in refusing service to the complainant cannot be condoned in any way, the respondent apologised sincerely in a letter to the complainant for any offence caused by the refusal of service. This mitigates the effects of the discrimination.
15 March, 2006