Equality Officer’s Decision
Kennedy Security & Consultancy Ltd.
Date of issue: 18 December 2008
File reference: EE/2006/334
1.1 This case concerns a claim by Mr. Mark Savage that he was discriminated against by Kennedy Security & Consultancy Limited on grounds of gender in terms of section 6(2)(a) of the Employment Equality Acts 1998 and 2008 and contrary to section 8 of those Acts, when the company failed to shortlist him for a second interview for the position of security guard in June 2006.
2.1 The complainant referred a complaint under the Employment Equality Acts 1998 - 2008 to the Equality Tribunal on 15 September 2006 alleging that the respondent had discriminated against him on grounds of gender when it failed to call him back for a second interview for the position of security guard in June 2006. The complainant maintains that he was not called back to second round interview on account of his hairstyle. The respondent disputes the allegation of discrimination and submitted in evidence photographs of current and past male employees to show that the company does not operate a policy requiring employees to have short hair.
2.2 In accordance with her powers under section 75 of the Employment Equality Act, 1998, the Director delegated the case to Ms. Valerie Murtagh, Equality Officer for investigation, hearing and decision and for the exercise of other relevant functions under Part VII of the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2008. I commenced my investigation on 17 July, 2008. Written submissions were received from both parties. I wrote to both parties on 28 July 2008 informing them that a hearing of the complaint would take place at the Tribunal's offices on 28 October 2008 commencing at 10:30 a.m. The letter to the complainant was sent to the most recent address which the Tribunal had on file for him. On Wednesday 1 October, a staff member of the Tribunal left a message on Mr. Savage’s voicemail reminding him that the joint hearing would take place on 28 October, 2008 and requested him to confirm his attendance; however, Mr Savage did not contact the Tribunal.
2.3 The respondent arrived in time for the hearing. The complainant failed to appear at the scheduled time and I indicated that I would defer commencement of the hearing for 20 minutes in case the complainant had been inadvertently delayed. The complainant was telephoned to enquire whether he was en route. The call went to voicemail. When the complainant had not appeared by 10.50 a.m., I convened the hearing as I was satisfied that the complainant had been made fully aware of the date and time of the hearing and no explanation had been communicated to the Tribunal as to why he was unable to attend.
3. Conclusions of the Equality Officer
3.1 In cases such as this responsibility rests with the complainant in the first instance to establish a prima facie case of discrimination. The complainant did not attend the hearing on 28 October 2008 and no explanation was given to the Equality Tribunal.
3.2 Notification of the hearing was posted to the complainant at the most recent address on record in the Tribunal. He was also contacted by telephone prior to the hearing requesting that he confirm his attendance at the hearing on 28 October 2008. It follows that I am satisfied he was aware of the hearing arrangements. No explanation has been given by the complainant for his non-attendance.
4.1 I have investigated the above complaint and make the following decision in accordance with section 79(6) of the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2008. I find that the complainant’s failure to attend the hearing was unreasonable in the circumstances. As no evidence was presented in support of the case at the hearing, I conclude this investigation and find against the complainant.
18 December 2008