The Equality Tribunal
3 Clonmel Street
Equal Status Acts, 2000 to 2008
Equality Officer Decision
Patrick Dunne and Tony Dunne
(represented by Thomas Coughlan & Co Solicitors)
Planet Health Club
(represented by Michael MacNamee BL, instructed by DAS Group)
File Refs: ES/2009/046-7
Date of Issue: 27/04/2011
Keywords: Equal Status Acts 2000-2008 - Section 3(2)(i), Traveller ground -discrimination - no jurisdiction - Intoxicating Liquor Act
Delegation under the Equal Status Acts, 2000 to 2008
This complaint was referred to the Director of the Equality Tribunal on 12 September 2008 under the Equal Status Acts, 2000-2008. In accordance with his powers under Section 75 of the Employment Equality Act, 1998 and under the Equal Status Acts, 2000-2008, the Director delegated the complaint to me, Elaine Cassidy, 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, 2000-2008. On 26th November 2010 my investigation commenced. As required by Section 25(1) and as part of my investigation, a full oral hearing was held on 18 January, 2011 and both parties were in attendance. Correspondence was exchanged between the parties and this process concluded on 8th April 2011.
The dispute concerns a claim by Mr Patrick Dunne and Mr Tony Dunne (hereafter "the complainants") that they were discriminated against by the Planet Health Club (hereafter "the respondent") on the grounds of their status as members of the Traveller community in terms of Sections 3(2)(i) of the Equal Status Acts, 2000-2008. The complainants submit that they were members of the Planet Health Club gym for approximately two months before the respondent discovered they were members of the Traveller Community and abruptly terminated their membership.
2.1 Both parties attended the hearing on 18th January 2011 and the complainants requested additional time afterwards to submit certain documents. Several documents were exchanged regarding matters arising at the hearing. On 3rd February 2011, the respondent raised a new issue. It submitted that in accordance with S.19 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003, the claim was outside the jurisdiction of the Equality Tribunal. It submitted that the Planet Health Club and Entertainment Centre is a licensed premises. Upon request, the respondent sent a copy of the Ordinary Seven Day Publican's Licence, an order of the Circuit Court made by Mr Justice Moran on 6 April 2006 and detailed engineer's drawings of the premises. The drawings indicated that the entire floor area of the entertainment complex (including the Children's Adventureland, the Gym, the Aerobics Studio, etc) was covered by the Ordinary Seven Day Publican's Licence. Upon request, the respondent Director confirmed that all of these areas are covered by the Licence, and it is not restricted, as would normally be the case, to the Bar area alone.
2.2 The complaint of discrimination made by Mr Patrick Dunne and Mr Tony Dunne refers to access to the gym. However as the gym is covered by an Ordinary Seven Day Publican's Licence, it falls under the jurisdiction of the District Court in accordance with S.19 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act which states:.
19. -- (1) In this section --
"Act of 2000" means the Equal Status Act 2000 ;
"Authority" means the Equality Authority;
"Court" means the District Court;
"discrimination" means discrimination within the meaning of the Act of 2000, but does not include discrimination in relation to --
(a) the provision of accommodation or any services or amenities related to accommodation, or
(b) ceasing to provide accommodation or any such services or amenities;
"prohibited conduct" means discrimination against, or sexual harassment or harassment of, or permitting the sexual harassment or harassment of a person in contravention of Part II (Discrimination and Related Activities) of the Act of 2000 on, or at the point of entry to, licensed premises.
(2) A person who claims that prohibited conduct has been directed against him or her on, or at the point of entry to, licensed premises may apply to the District Court for redress.
2.3 Therefore the complaint is inadmissible.