The Equality Tribunal
3 Clonmel Street
Equal Status Acts, 2000-2008
(Represented by Bell & Carroll, Solicitors)
Bluered Limited (in Liquidation) t/a Kate’s Bar
File ref: ES/2002/0084
Date of Issue: 28th January 2009
Equal Status Act 2000 - Direct discrimination, section 3(1)(a) - Membership of the Traveller community, section 3(2)(i) - Provision of goods and services, section 5(1) – Refusal of service in a Pub – Establishment of a prima facie case - Non attendance at the hearing.
1. Delegation under the Equal Status Acts, 2000 to 2008
1.1 The complainants referred a claim to the Director of the Equality Investigations under the Equal Status Act, 2000 on the 21st February, 2002. On the 10th June, 2008 in accordance with her powers under section 75 of the Employment Equality Act, 1998 and under the Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2008, the Director delegated the case to me, James Kelly, 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 to 2008 on which date my investigation commenced. As required by section 25(1) and as part of my investigation, I proceeded to hearing on the 14th January, 2009.
2. Summary of dispute
2.1 This dispute concerns a complaint by Mr. James Maughan that he was discriminated against by Bluered Limited t/a Kate’s Bar by being refused service because he was a member of the Traveller community contrary to section 3(1)(a), 3(2)(i) of the Equal Status Act 2000.
3.1 A hearing into the above complaint was scheduled for 11am on the 14th January 2009 and the parties were notified of this on the 5th December 2008 by Registered post. The Liquidators with responsibility for the respondent notified the Tribunal that they would not be attending the oral hearing. On the 13th January 2009 the Solicitors representing the complainant confirmed that they and the complainant would be in attendance at the hearing.
3.2 On the day of the hearing, the Solicitor representing the complainant informed me that she was unable to get in contact with him that morning; however she did manage to make contact with a family member who claimed that Mr. Maughan’s car had broken down at his home that morning; however he had left for the hearing. I adjourned the hearing for 20 minutes to allow the complainant time to make his way to the venue. The complainant did not arrive within that time period. I further suspended the hearing until 12:15pm, to allow the complainants solicitor to make contact with, and present Mr. Maughan before the Tribunal. During this time I contacted the Tribunal’s secretariat staff so see if Mr. Maughan had made contact with the Equality Tribunal directly, I was informed that he had not.
3.3 When I convened the hearing, the complainant’s solicitor said that the complainant had not arrived, she was unable to make contact with him and he had not made contact with her. I outlined that as the complainant failed to attend the hearing in person that I was bringing the hearing to a close and a decision would issue shortly. I closed the hearing at 12:20pm.
3.4 I am satisfied the complainant was fully aware of the date and time of the hearing. I am also satisfied that he made no attempt to make contact with the Tribunal to inform of any delay. Finally, I am satisfied that ample time was provided for him to present himself at the hearing so as to provide evidence in support of the allegation of discrimination.
4.1 In accordance with Section 25(4) of the Equal Status Acts, 2000 to 2008, I issue the following decision. As part of my investigation under Section 25 of the Acts, I am obliged to hold a hearing. I find that the complainant’s failure to attend such a hearing was unreasonable in the circumstances and that any obligation under Section 25(1) has ceased. As no evidence was given at the hearing in support of the allegation of discrimination I conclude the investigation and find against the complainant.
28th January, 2009