Finegan's Bar & Lounge, Carlow
(Represented by James Cody & Sons Solicitors)
John Keogh referred a claim on the family status ground 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, the Director then delegated the case to me, Bernadette Treanor, 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.
Summary of the Complainant's case
Mr. Keogh entered the respondent premises at about 7pm on Thursday 20th February 2003. He had been viewing houses in the area with his partner and six month old daughter with a view to moving to the area. They had just finished viewing one at around 6.15pm and were due to see the next at 8:30pm. They went into the bar in order to feed the baby and pass some time. While his partner gave the baby her bottle, Mr. Keogh went to the bar and ordered two drinks. When the child finished her bottle and was back in the pram asleep he went to the bar and got another drink. Before they had finished this second drink a member of staff who had been collecting glasses approached them, removed glasses from their table, said "It's a bit late to have the child here" and kept going. The complainant and his partner had intended to leave within 10 minutes in any event but felt uncomfortable because of the comment and because of onlookers. They left immediately.
Summary of the Respondent's Case
The respondent and his representative were not present when the hearing was due to start. I spoke to the respondent's representative who apologized since they had completely forgotten about the hearing. He added that so much time had passed that witnesses were not available and that his client simply did not have anything to offer on this case. He confirmed they would not be attending.
Conclusions of the Equality Officer
I am satisfied that the respondent had decided that they had no evidence to offer in response to this case. In addition I am satisfied that they had decided not to question the complainant's evidence.
On the basis of the evidence presented to me I am satisfied that the complainant had a six month old child with him when he entered the respondent's premises in February 2003. At that time there was no statute restricting the presence of a child in a licensed premises. I find that a comment was made relating to the presence of the child and that the complainant felt sufficiently uncomfortable to make him leave immediately. I find that the complainant has established a prima facie case of discrimination on the family status ground which the respondent has failed to rebut.
I find that the complainant was discriminated against on 20th February 2003. Taking account of the fact that the complainant had intended to leave shortly after the comment had been made, I hereby order the respondent to pay the complainant €300 for the effect of the discrimination.
3rd August 2007