Melandon Limited t/a The Park Hotel
(Represented by Mr. Joseph P. Gordon, Solicitor,
Joseph P. Gordon & Co., Solicitors)
Delegation under the Equal Status Act, 2000
This complaint was referred 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 has delegated the complaint to me, Enda Murphy, 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, 2000-2004. The hearing of the case took place in Waterford on 23rd June, 2008.
1.1 This dispute concerns a claim by the complainant, Mr. Andrew Cash that he was discriminated against by the respondent on the grounds of his membership of the Traveller community in terms of Sections 3(1)(a) and 3(2)(i) of the Equal Status Act, 2000 in not being provided with a service which is generally available to the public contrary to Section 5(1) of the Equal Status Act, 2000.
3.1 This case was assigned to me on 11th April, 2008. Letters were issued to both parties to the complaint on 14th April, 2008 notifying them that the hearing of the complaint was scheduled to take place at 10:30 a.m. in Waterford on 23rd June, 2008. In the case of the complainant this notice was sent to the solicitor that was nominated to act on his behalf. On 20th June, 2008, I received confirmation from the complainant’s representative that that they were no longer acting on behalf of the complainant in this matter. The complainant’s representative also confirmed that it had notified the complainant of the time and date of the hearing by both telephone and correspondence. I am satisfied therefore, that valid notification of the hearing was made to the complainant.
3.1 On the date of the hearing the respondent and a number of its witnesses were in attendance. The complainant was not in attendance at the hearing. At 10:30 a.m. on the date of the hearing, I indicated to the respondent’s representative that I would defer the commencement of the hearing for 30 minutes in order for the complainant to make contact with the Tribunal or to arrive late if he had been unavoidably delayed. Following this period of time there was no appearance from the complainant and I contacted the Equality Tribunal Offices in Dublin by telephone to check if any communication had been received from the complainant regarding his failure to attend the hearing. It was confirmed to me that no communication had been received from the complainant. I also confirmed with the reception desk of the hearing venue that no messages had been received regarding this case. At this point, I reconvened the hearing and explained to the respondent that in cases under the Equal Status Acts, 2000 to 2004, the onus is on the complainant to provide evidence establishing a prima facie case of discrimination on the ground complained of if the complaint is to succeed. In this case the complainant did not attend the hearing and thus could not establish a prima facie case of discrimination. The respondent, therefore, had no case to answer. I informed the respondent that a decision to this effect would issue in accordance with section 25 of the Acts.
3.1 On the basis of the foregoing, I find that a prima facie case of discrimination has not been established by the complainant on the Traveller community ground in terms of sections 3(1) and 3(2)(i) of the Equal Status Act, 2000. Accordingly, I find in favour of the respondent in the matter.
3rd July, 2008