Equal Status Acts 2000-2004
EQUALITY OFFICER'S DECISIONS NO: DEC-S2007-049
(Represented by Mr. Conor Power, B.L., acting on instructions
from the Equality Authority)
A Local Authority
(Represented by Mr. Michael O'Donoghue, B.L.)
Equal Status Acts 2000-2004 - Direct Discrimination, Section 3(1)(a) - Family Status Ground, Section 3(2)(c) - Disability Ground, Section 3(2)(g) - Reasonable Accommodation, Section 4 - Disposal of Premises and Provision of Accommodation, Section 6 - Prima Facie Case.
1.1 This dispute concerns a claim by Ms. C. that she was treated in a discriminatory manner by the respondent, contrary to Section 6, in terms of Section 3(1) (a), 3(2) (c) and (g) and Section 4 of the Equal Status Acts 2000-2004. The complainant referred a claim to the Director of Equality Investigations under the Equal Status Acts 2000-2004. In accordance with her powers under section 75 of the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2004 and under the Equal Status Acts 2000-2004, 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 Acts.
2.1 Ms. C. is a tenant of the respondent. She resides in a mid-terrace property with her two sons and adult sister. Her son L. is autistic. In 2001 she applied for an extension to her residence under a scheme operated by the respondent, namely the Disabled Persons Alteration Scheme, hereinafter "the Scheme". The extension was to provide additional required space for L. on foot of his disability.
2.2 The initial application and a subsequent appeal from Ms. C. were refused by the respondent. In the subsequent exchange of correspondence between the parties over a considerable period of time Ms. C. was informed by the respondent that :-
§ The terms of the Scheme did not apply to her son.
§ Following two appeals by Ms. C., the Director of Public Health and Medicine had ultimately approved her application and had designated her application as priority level three, i.e. low level of need.
§ The respondent's Architect's Department had found that an extension to her premises was not feasible.
§ A change in policy in 2004 on the part of the respondent meant that extensions to mid-terrace properties would no longer be carried out by the respondent.
2.3 Ms. C. initially applied under the Scheme for an extension in 2001. Her application was ultimately "approved" by the Director of Public Health and Medicine in 2004, having previously been repeatedly turned down by the respondent without reference to a suitably qualified specialist or to the Director of Public Health and Medicine. In October 2003 Ms. C. made an application to the respondent under the Freedom of Information Act. On foot of documents subsequently released to her she felt that she had been misled by the earlier correspondence from the respondent and lodged a formal complaint under the Equal Status Acts 2000-2004. The grounds for the complaint were that the respondent had discriminated against her and her son (i) by failing to provide an extension to her residence, (ii) by failing to provide reasonable accommodation for L's disability and (iii) in the manner in which the respondent assessed her application under the Disabled Persons Alterations Scheme.
2.4 The respondent states that Ms. C.'s request for an extension to her property was ultimately approved by the Director of Public Health and Medicine but was given a low level of priority. The respondent subsequently ceased carrying out all extensions to mid-terrace dwellings under the Scheme for practical reasons. Applicants, including Ms. C., for extensions to mid terrace dwellings were subsequently invited to apply for transfer to suitable alternative accommodation.
3 Summary Complainant's Case
3.1 Ms. C. submitted a copy of all correspondence exchanged with the
respondent which indicates that:-
§ The application by Ms. C. under the Scheme was supported by a Senior Clinical Psychologist and a Senior Occupational Therapist
§ The application was initially treated by the respondent as being on the basis of overcrowding at the residence, not disability. The application was in respect of the latter and no application had ever been made on the basis of overcrowding.
§ The respondent regarded the Scheme as primarily catering for extensions for mobility impaired persons and as L. did not have a physical disability there was no requirement for an extra bedroom for him. The application had never been for an additional bedroom but rather was in respect of additional space and bathroom facilities.
§ The Scheme, according to the respondent, catered for the needs of those with physical disability or severe mental handicap/illness and L. did not qualify in either category.
§ The respondent informed Ms. C. that the Architect's Department had reported that an extension to her residence was not feasible. In a copy of the Architect's report, released on foot of the application by Ms. C. under the Freedom of Information Act, the Architect states that an extension "seems feasible". The report recommends that the matter be referred to a Consultant Architect for costing. This was not done.
§ The respondent, in 2004, claims to have carried out a review of policy in relation to extending mid-terrace dwellings and decided on foot of the review not to carry out any further such extensions. However, applications under the Scheme would be reviewed on a case by case basis.
Ms. C. states that the respondent discriminated against her son by:-
- comparing his disability less favourably with other disabilities.
- failing to provide reasonable accommodation to her son in accordance with the terms of Section 4 of the Equal Status Acts 2000-2004.
- lack of transparency in the decision making process.
- the application of a general policy which does not allow the specific needs of applicants to be properly considered.
- delay in the process, accompanied by lack of consultation, lack of knowledge of L's disability, failure to properly investigate the needs of L. and his family and failure to provide alternative accommodation at an early stage.
4 Preliminary Issues
4.1 Identity of Complainant
Ms. C. issued formal notification to the respondent in accordance with the terms of the Equal Status Acts 2000-2004. In that notification she identified herself as the complainant on foot of the respondent's refusal to grant her application for a home extension to facilitate the specific needs of her son arising from his disability, not her own needs. If it were not for the fact that her son has a disability, the complainant would not have made an application under the Scheme.
L. is the eligible person under the Scheme. I am satisfied that L. is therefore the correct complainant in this matter. However, as it was clearly not possible for L. to apply for the construction of an extension under the Scheme or to pursue a complaint in this matter I am satisfied that Ms. C. (hereinafter "the complainant") is a valid complainant in accordance with definition (b) of Section 20 of the Equal Status Acts 2000-2004.
4.2 Date of Referral of Complaint
4.2.1 I am satisfied that the complainant has complied with the requirements of Section 21 (7) of the Equal Status Acts in referring the complaint to the Tribunal on foot of a specific misrepresentation on the part of the respondent which came to the complainant's notice in January 2005.
Sections 21(6)(a) and 21(7) of the Equal Status Acts, in combination, specifically refer to the treatment of a claim for redress under the Equal Status Acts in circumstances whereby a delay in making a referral is due to any misrepresentation by the respondent. The Sections specifically allow for the referral of a claim for redress in respect of prohibited conduct in those circumstances.
Section 21(7) states that "where a delay by a complainant in referring a case ....... is due to any misrepresentation by the respondent subsection (6) (a) shall apply as if the references to the date of occurrence of prohibited conduct were references to the date on which the misrepresentation came to the complainant's notice".
Section 21(2) of the Equal Status Acts requires that "before seeking redress ...... the complainant
(a) shall within 2 months after the prohibited conduct is alleged to have occurred ...................... notify the respondent in writing of
(i) the nature of the allegation
(ii) the complainant's intention, if not satisfied with the respondent's response to the allegation to seek redress under this Act..............."
Sections 21(6) and (7) specifically allow for the referral of a complaint within six months from the date that misrepresentation comes to the complainant's notice. Section 21(2) requires that the complainant notify the respondent of the nature of the allegation etc. within two months after the prohibited conduct is alleged to have occurred. In applying the foregoing to the instant case, taking Section 21(6) and (7) into consideration, the date on which the prohibited conduct is alleged to have occurred is 17 January 2005 i.e. the date on which the misrepresentation on the part of the respondent came to the complainant's notice. Notification by the complainant to the respondent was made on 1 March 2005. This was within two months after the date on which the misrepresentation came to the complainant's notice. The complaint was referred to the Tribunal on 17 April 2005. This was within six months from the date on which the misrepresentation came to the complainant's notice.
4.2.2 Notwithstanding the above I note that the complainant states that discrimination is ongoing as an extension to her property under the Scheme has not been constructed nor has suitable alternative accommodation been provided to her and her family. (Section 21 (11) (a) of the Equal Status Acts refers).
5 Prima Facie Case
5.1 Family Status Ground
5.1.1 The complainant is a parent and is the primary carer of her son L. and is therefore covered by the family status ground by reference to Section 2 (definitions) and Section 3(2) (c) of the Equal Status Acts 2000-2004.
5.1.2 The complainant's application for an extension to her home was to cater for
her son's specific needs arising from his disability. The application was not made in her own right as either a parent or a primary carer. The Scheme operated by the respondent was not, and is not, available on foot of the complainant's status as a parent or primary carer but, rather, specifically caters for the needs of disabled persons.
5.1.3 In short, were it not for her son's disability the complainant would not have made an application under the Scheme. In the circumstances I am not satisfied that the complainant has established a prima facie case of discrimination on the family status ground.
5.2 Disability Ground
5.2.1 Ms. C. does not have a disability. Her son L. has a disability. The complainant did not make an application to the respondent for an extension to her home on foot of a disability of her own. She made the application for an extension to her home to deal with the specific needs arising from her son's disability. Had Ms. C. made the application in her own right the respondent's scheme would not have been applicable to her as she could not meet the criteria for same. As the complainant is not covered by the disability ground in her own right she cannot therefore establish a prima facie case of discrimination on the disability ground in her own right in the context of the respondent's scheme.
5.2.2 However, Ms. C's application on behalf of her son L. (see 4.1 above) was a valid application under the Scheme as operated by the respondent. Having carefully considered all of the evidence provided by and on behalf of the complainant I am satisfied that Ms. C., acting on her son's behalf, has established a prima facie case of discrimination on the grounds of disability within the terms of Section
38A of the Equal Status Acts 2000-2004 in relation to the application for a home
extension to cater for her son's needs arising from his disability.
6 Summary Respondent's Case
The respondent submits that:-
- The complainant's initial application was for a loft extension which the first report from Architect's Department found was not feasible
- The Occupational Therapist's report received in relation to the initial application recommends either of two options:-
(a) To extend and adapt the present house or
(b) Move the family to more spacious accommodation, ideally within the same housing estate.
- A review was carried out by the respondent in 2004 as to the general practicality of carrying out extensions to mid - terrace houses. It was decided following the review that extensions to mid-terrace dwellings in general would not be carried out. However, applications for extensions under the Scheme were to continue to be assessed individually.
- Following the review approximately 25 applications for extension have been refused on similar grounds i.e mid-terrace dwellings as follows:
Extensions to alleviate overcrowding - 18
Extensions under the Disabled Alterations - 7
- The complainant's request for an extension was initially refused, she appealed the decision and the case was referred to the Director of Public Health and Medicine for consideration. He recommended approval to an extension but categorised the case as priority level 3, low level of need.
Summary Respondent's Case (continued)
- The second Architect's report stated that an extension was feasible. However they also stated that it would be disruptive and would add to construction cost. It is ultimately the Housing Department who must decide on whether to proceed with an extension, having regard to all the facts.
- It was considered that in these circumstances the best thing to do would be for the family to transfer to more appropriate accommodation, i.e house already adapted or an end of terrace house or semi-detached house, which can be extended.
- The decision not to proceed with this extension is purely due to the fact that it is a mid-terraced house. It has nothing to do with L.'s disability.
- The complainant's claim is based on an incorrect interpretation of Sections 4 and 6 of the Equal Status Acts 2000-2004.
- It is accepted that the respondent comes within the definition of "provider of a service" for the purposes of Section 4 of the Equal Status Acts 2000-2004. This Section does not apply to the present case where the issue is the provision of accommodation involving the adaptation of a house by the building of an extension at the rear of the claimant's rented house to provide extra space.
- The Acts provide specifically for non-discrimination in the provision of accommodation under Section 6 which clearly demonstrates that the legislature in enacting Section 4 did not have in contemplation the actual provision of accommodation. The wording is important, it provides that the provider of a service do "all that is reasonable to accommodate a person with a disability" not to provide a person with a disability with reasonable accommodation. It is submitted that the Section is concerned with issues of access and availing of a service not the provision of the service itself and applies to all accommodation providers.
- It is further submitted that having regard to subsection 2 that any treatment or facilities must give rise only to a nominal cost and would necessarily be, in the context of accommodation, minor in nature such as the provision of ramps, intercoms and perhaps lifts etc.
- The complainant appears also to allege discrimination by the respondent on the ground of disability vis-à-vis a person with a different disability initially as between physical and mental disabilities and in relation to the complainant's son having been given level 3, low level of priority in the recommendation for approval of the application by the Director of Public Health and Medicine. The Act provides for a Housing Authority treating persons differently in the provision of accommodation based on a number of grounds including disability (Section 6 (6) of the Equal Status Acts refers).
- The purpose of this Section is to ensure that the Housing Authority is free to prioritise applications in relation to housing accommodation including as between one disabled person and another. Accordingly the respondent did not discriminate against the claimant as alleged.
7 Equality Officer's Conclusions
7.1 Having carefully considered all of the evidence provided in this matter I am satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that the respondent has failed to rebut the inference of discrimination in this matter for the following reasons:
§ Correspondence clearly indicates that the complainant's initial application under the Scheme was not properly considered in terms of an application to cater for the needs of a disabled person, despite the fact that the Scheme specifically caters for disabled persons.
§ Staff of the respondent compared the disability suffered by the complainant's son less favourably with physical disabilities, despite the fact that the Scheme caters for persons with either physical or mental disabilities
§ Staff processing the complainant's application were not qualified in any respect to reach a number of stated conclusions reached by them in relation to L's disability ( e.g. "L does not qualify in either category..") and they did not seek the expertise of a person or persons who is/are suitably qualified to assess the nature of L's disability, nor did they revert to the complainant for additional information or clarification.
§ The initial application and a subsequent appeal were turned down, on the incorrect basis, without any attempt on the part of the respondent staff to refer back to the complainant, or to a number of qualified professionals acting on her behalf, to clarify any matter.
§ The recommendations of a number of qualified external professionals, in favour of the complainant's application, were ignored.
§ The recommendations of a number of professionally qualified officers employed by the respondent, in favour of the complainant's application, were ignored.
§ The respondent has no formal policy, criteria or procedures for the processing of applications under the Scheme.
§ The respondent introduced a change in policy in late 2004 and applied it retrospectively to approved applications already on hands under the original scheme, including that of the complainant.
§ Those documents provided by the respondent in relation to the proposed change in policy do not make any allowance for the specific consideration on an individual basis of applications under the Disabled Persons Alterations Scheme, or indeed any application to cater for the needs of disabled persons.
§ The review of policy which the respondent claims to have carried out in 2004 was on foot of comparisons made with a scheme as operated by another local authority. The latter was in relation to applications for extensions to relieve overcrowding only. This did not compare like with like in respect of the Disabled Persons Alterations Scheme and made no specific provisions for applications under that Scheme.
§ The practical reasons cited by the respondent for the change in policy were never measured against the benefits/advantages to the complainant of granting her application.
§ The Director of Public Health and Medicine, in categorising the priority level of the complainant's application, did not appear to act independently in this matter as the three categories of priority for applications under the Scheme are preset by the respondent under the Scheme. This restricted any discretion exercised by the Director of Public Health and Medicine.
§ The respondent failed to properly consider the complainant's application in terms of all of the circumstances of the case which were known to it at the time. This includes the specific requirements of L. and the fact that L was being seriously bullied outside of his home because of his disability (the Anti-Social Behaviour Unit of the respondent was actively investigating this at the time) and the need for extra space within the home was more critical as a consequence.
§ The respondent has, to date, failed to offer a suitable alternative to the complainant since the decision to refuse her application for an extension was made. This is despite the fact that the stated basis for the respondent's change in policy. i.e. the comparison with a scheme operated by another local authority, requires that such an alternative be provided.
7.2 Reasonable Accommodation (1)
7.2.1 The respondent indicated at the Hearing of this complaint that it has fundamentally misinterpreted the reasonable accommodation requirements of Section 4 of the Equal Status Acts to mean the provision of physical accommodation. While some confusion is entirely understandable in the context of the instant case, the requirement to provide reasonable accommodation has been clearly interpreted in numerous decisions of the Tribunal to mean the provision, by any service provider, of any/all reasonable treatment or facilities without which it would be unduly difficult or impossible for a disabled person to avail of the service in question.
7.2.2 The service being provided in the instant case was (i) processing and consideration of applications under the Scheme, including all activities ancillary to this and, where an application was successful, (ii) housing alterations under the Scheme as operated by the respondent or, following the review of policy in 2004, the provision of suitable alternative accommodation.
7.2.3 While I accept that it cannot be a foregone conclusion that applications under the Scheme operated by the respondent would in all cases succeed I cannot accept that the manner in which the complainant's application was processed was reasonable or indeed, acceptable. L.'s specific circumstances and needs were not properly considered by the respondent. The complainant's application under the Scheme was eventually approved but only after dogged persistence on her part to have her application reviewed and properly considered in terms of the Scheme. Ultimately, following approval by the respondent for the construction of an extension to the complainant's residence, the respondent decided unilaterally that the complainant and her family should transfer to alternative accommodation. The complainant and her family still await the transfer.
7.3 Nominal Cost
7.3.1 The respondent states that the cost of carrying out an extension to the complainant's house would amount to a greater than nominal cost and that such an extension does not, therefore, come within the definition of discrimination under the Equal Status Acts. I note that the issue of nominal cost was never raised by the respondent in relation to the refusals of the complainant's application and was not, based on the evidence submitted, a consideration of the respondent at the time of the refusals.
7.3.2 Notwithstanding this, nominal cost has been clearly defined in earlier decisions of the Tribunal to reflect relativity to the size, structure, financial turnover and level of available resources of service providers (see for example DEC-E-2002-004, An Employee v A Local Authority - from paragraph 6.15 onward).
7.3.3 The respondent has never determined the actual cost of an extension to the complainant's residence. I note that, at the time of the initial application by the complainant, the Scheme operated by the respondent was two thirds funded by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. This meant that only one third of the cost would have to be borne by the respondent at that time. Subsequently all such extensions became fully funded by the Department.
7.3.4 The respondent has failed to establish any cost figure for the extension in question. In light of this and taking into consideration all of the figures provided by the respondent subsequent to the Hearing of this complaint which indicate that overall expenditure by the respondent on extensions under the Scheme amounted to a small proportion of overall housing budget, which is now fully funded by the Department, I am unable to properly consider or determine whether the construction of an extension to the complainant's property would amount to more than nominal cost. In the circumstances I am satisfied that the respondent has failed to demonstrate that the construction of an extension to the complainant's residence would constitute more than nominal cost.
7.4 Difference in Treatment
7.4.1 I note the respondent's submission that the Equal Status Acts (Section 6(6)) specifically permit a Housing Authority to provide different treatments to different categories of persons in providing housing, including as between disabled persons. This is not to say that Housing Authorities can discriminate against those categories of persons but rather, that it can prioritise, as the respondent correctly argues, in favour of those categories of persons.
The respondent has no formal written policy in place with regard to the Scheme or the criteria attaching thereto. The method of such "prioritisation" by the respondent, if any, is lacking in clarity and transparency. Taking the totality of the evidence into consideration there is no evidence presented which indicates that the complainant's application was prioritised in its own right or that it was delayed on foot of other relevant priorities. The fundamental reasons for the complainant's application were simply not taken on board by the respondent.
7.4.2 I note that the respondent had the facility to request that the Housing Manager exercise discretion in the matter and expedite the transfer of the complainant and her family to more suitable accommodation and did not do so. I note that, prior to the Hearing of this matter, the complainant was not made aware at any time that the Housing Manager exercised such a discretion.
8 Other Issues
8.1 Review of Policy by Respondent
A number of references were made by the respondent to a review of policy carried out in 2004 regarding the construction of extensions to mid-terrace dwellings. The only evidence presented in relation to this review was a copy minute from a member of the respondent's administrative staff which he had passed "up the line". Attached to the copy minute was a draft proposed policy for the future treatment of applications for all extensions to houses owned by the respondent to alleviate overcrowding or under the Disabled Persons Alterations Scheme.
8.1.1 The proposals contained in the minute were stated to be based on some cursory research carried out by the member of staff in question. This research indicated that another Local Authority was building very few extensions and was instead moving applicants for extensions due to overcrowding to more suitable accommodation.
8.1.2 The proposals contained in the minute cannot be regarded as anything akin to a "review" of policy. They are no more than initial proposals requiring further in-depth research and analysis. No evidence of the latter was presented. Therefore the minute and the proposals attaching thereto can be given little weight in this matter.
8.1.3 I note that the proposals relate to the cessation of the construction of all extensions but do indicate that applications for extensions to mid-terrace properties be refused immediately. The only draft standard letter attached to the proposals refers to an application to alleviate overcrowding. I note further that the proposals state that the Director of Public Health and Medicine would only be requested to prioritise the urgency of applications under the Scheme after they had been approved by the respondent.
Material relating to the Scheme operated by the respondent indicates that the Director of Public Health and Medicine was asked to merely categorise applications under the Scheme in accordance with predetermined criteria as set by the respondent. No evidence was presented to indicate that the Director actually prioritised the urgency of cases referred to him.
In any event, there was no assessment of L. by the Director of Public Health and Medicine prior to his categorising the application as "low level of need".
8.2 Effect of delay in processing of application
8.2.1 The respondent indicated in evidence that the normal expected time span for the processing of an application under the Scheme to the completion of an extension in successful cases is two to four years.
8.2.2 The complainant initially applied for an extension in 2001. Her application was ultimately "approved" by the Director of Public Health and Medicine in 2004, having previously been repeatedly turned down without reference to a suitably qualified specialist or the Director of Public Health and Medicine.
8.2.3 If the respondent had correctly processed the application from the outset it could have been reasonably expected, based on the timeframe indicated by the respondent, that the extension to the complainant's residence would have been completed by 2003 at the earliest and 2005 at the latest i.e it would have been completed or commenced before the respondent's "review" of policy.
8.2.4 In the interim the complainant's son has grown considerably and the requirement for additional space has become more critical. Furthermore the complainant has also indicated that a substantial network of support and care services for her son's disability has now been established by her in the estate in which she currently resides. This makes it much less desirable that her family be moved out of the area by the respondent in the event that she is re-housed.
8.3 It is of some concern to me that, following the complainant's initial application, subsequent appeals and Freedom of Information requests from the complainant were directed to and ultimately handled by one individual member of the respondent's administrative staff, particularly in circumstances whereby that member of staff was the one who also submitted proposals for the virtual abolition of the Scheme as operated by the respondent. In the interests of natural justice I recommend that the respondent carry out a review of internal procedures to ensure that they comply, at minimum, with the rules of natural justice.
8.4 It is of considerable concern to me that the respondent misrepresented the contents of the Architect's Department's second report to the complainant particularly in circumstances whereby the respondent relied on the misrepresentation to refuse the complainant's application for an extension. I note that the respondent has made no effort to date to provide an explanation for the misrepresentation.
9.1 I find that the respondent has directly discriminated against the complainant by arbitrarily comparing her son's disability less favourably with physical disabilities under a Scheme which is stated to cater for persons with either a physical or mental disability. This is discrimination within the meaning of Section 3(1) (a) of the Equal Status Acts 2000-2004.
9.2 I also find that the respondent has failed to provide reasonable accommodation to the complainant, contrary to Section 4 of the Equal Status Acts 2000-2004 by (i) failing to properly and reasonably process and consider her application under the Scheme and (ii) failing to take all of the circumstances of this case, including the specific needs of L. and the serious bullying of L, which were clearly known at the time to the respondent, into consideration in arriving at a final decision and (iii) failing to construct the extension to the complainant's property after her application had been approved and on foot of a change in policy which was being applied retrospectively or, (iv) following the change in policy, to expedite the transfer of the complainant and her family to suitable alternative accommodation.
10.1 In accordance with Section 27 (1)(a) of the Equal Status Acts 2000-2004 I hereby order that the respondent pay to the complainant the sum of €6,350 for the distress and hardship caused to her by the discrimination. This is the maximum amount which can be awarded under the Equal Status Acts 2000-2004. If I were not constrained by this, and taking all of the evidence in this matter into consideration, I would have awarded a higher amount to the complainant.
10.2 In accordance with Section 27(1)(b) of the Equal Status Acts 2000-2004 I hereby order the respondent, with the assistance of a suitably qualified body (e.g. The Equality Authority), to (a) draw up a formal written policy in relation to (i) the precise requirements from applicants under the Disabled Persons Alterations Scheme, (ii) detailed guidelines on the operation, including any limitations to the terms of, the Disabled Persons Alterations Scheme, (iii) details of the appeal mechanism under the Disabled Persons Alterations Scheme and (b) to publish the formal written policy within six months from the date of this Decision.
10.3 As L's needs persist and will do so into the future, in accordance with Section 27(1)(b) of the Equal Status Acts 2000-2004, and in light of the effects of the delays in this matter as set out at 8.2 above, I hereby order the respondent to immediately proceed, in full consultation with the complainant and a Senior Occupational Therapist (preferably the Senior Occupational Therapist who has already reported in this matter and supported the complainant's application), to either (i) construct an extension, suitable to the complainant's son's needs and in keeping with her approved application, to her current dwelling or (ii) to re-house the complainant and her family in alternative accommodation, suitable to the needs of L. on foot of his disability, in the locality where they are currently resident. As the complainant's initial application was made almost six years ago the agreed construction or re-housing is to be completed within twelve months from the date of this Decision.
11 The complainant requested that this Decision be issued with the names of the parties withheld in order to protect the identity of her son. The respondent consented to the request.
1 May, 2007
notes: (1) See "A Health and Fitness Club and A Worker", ref ED/02/59 Determination No 037 for the Labour Court's treatment of this issue in an employment context. The fundamental principles, however, are equally applicable in the instant case.