Equal Status Act 2000
EQUALITY OFFICER’S DECISIONS NO: DEC-S2008-045
(Represented by Conor Power B.L. instructed by McCann Fitzgerald Solicitors)
Equal Status Act 200 – Discrimination, section 3 – Age ground, section 3(2)(f) – Provision of goods and services, section 5(1) – Actuarial and statistical data, section 5(2)(d) – cost of travel insurance for a person over 65 years of age
1. Delegation under the Equal Status Act 2000
1.1 A complainant referred a claim to the Director of the Equality Tribunal under the Equal Status Act 2000 on 21 July 2004. In accordance with her powers under section 75 of the Employment Equality Act, 1998, the Director then delegated the case to me, Tara Coogan, 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. The investigation under section 25 commenced on 30 August 2007. The hearing was scheduled for 7 July 2008.
2.1. The dispute concerns a complaint of less favourable treatment contrary to section 5(1) on the grounds of age when the complainant and his late wife attempted to purchase annual travel insurance quoted at 69 euro per couple. Upon application the couple were quoted 229 euro on 27 May 2004. They were informed that this was because of their age. The respondent was notified on 18 June 2004.
3.1. A hearing into the above complaint was scheduled for 7 July 2008 and the parties were notified of this on 1 May 2008. Notification was sent by standard post. The complainant had been informed of the case assignment on 10 September 2007. A response to this was received from the complainant on 20 September 2007. A number of letters, dated 20 September 2007, 1 November 2007, 1 May 2008 and 2 July 2008, were sent to the complainant requesting that he confirm his intent to pursue the claim. No response was received. As none of the letters have been returned to the undersigned, I am satisfied that the complainant has received them.
3.2. On the morning of the hearing, the respondent’s representation and a number of witnesses were present at the scheduled time of 11.30 am. I deferred the commencement of the hearing for 20 minutes in order to allow for the complainant to make contact with the Tribunal. No contact was made. At 11.50 am I convened the hearing and explained to the respondent that as the complainants had failed to attend and establish in person the facts supporting their claim of discrimination - and that I am satisfied that the complainant was accordingly notified - the respondents had no case to answer. I informed the respondent that a decision in accordance with section 25 of the Act would issue shortly and that there would be a 42 day appeal period in accordance with section 28 of the Act.
4.1. 6.1. In accordance with section 25(4) I conclude this investigation and issue the following decision:
I find that the complainant has failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination. Therefore, I find in favour of the respondent and the complaint fails.