DECISION NO: DEC - E2007-036
A Female Employee (represented by Casey & Co) -v- A Building Products Company (represented by H.C. Browne Solicitors)
The Employment Equality Act, 1998: sections 2, 8, 15, 23 and 74, - gender - direct discrimination statutory time period - sexual harassment - failure to investigate - victimisation - dismissal
The complainant submitted that she was discriminated against in that she was subjected to various incidents of sexual harassment in the course of her employment. She submitted that when she complained of the sexual harassment, she was victimised by her employer as it dismissed her from her job. The respondent denied that the complainant was sexually harassed and submitted that the complaint was not referred to the Tribunal within the statutory time period.
The Equality Officer found that the complaint was referred to the Equality Tribunal within the six month statutory time period. The Equality Officer found on the balance of probabilities that the complainant was sexually harassed. She found the respondent vicariously liable for the actions of the harasser. No evidence was presented to indicate that the employer had taken any steps that were reasonably practicable to prevent sexual harassment occurring in the workplace and it could not therefore avail of the section 15(3) defence. As the complainant only sought to raise the issue of victimisation in relation to her dismissal at the hearing having made no claim in respect thereof prior to then and the respondent was not afforded an opportunity to respond to the allegation, the Equality Officer did not make a finding in relation to the claim of victimisatory dismissal.
The Equality Officer found that the respondent discriminated against the complainant on the gender ground in relation to her conditions of employment. She ordered that the respondent pay the complainant the sum of €10,000.00 compensation for the effects of the discrimination and pay interest at the Courts Act rate on the amount awarded for compensation in respect of the period beginning on 10 April 2004 and ending on the date of payment. She also ordered that the respondent draft a policy on the prevention of harassment and sexual harassment in the workplace.