Employment Equality Acts 2000 to 2008
DECISION NO: DEC-E2012-071
(Represented by Farrell Solicitors)
Vitra Ireland Limited
(Represented by Eugene F. Collins Solicitors)
File No. EE/2009/810
Date of Issue: 8 June 2012
File reference: EE/2009/810- DEC-E2012-071
Employment Equality Acts - Discriminatory treatment - Harassment - Victimisation - Claim for Equal Pay - Race- Prima Facie Case - Failure to attend a hearing
1. Dispute and delegation
1.1 This dispute concerns a claim by Mr. Muharrem Tarfan (hereafter "the complainant") that he was subjected to discriminatory treatment, harassment and victimisation by Vitra Ireland Limited (hereafter "the respondent") on the grounds of his race. The complainant submitted that the first date of discriminatory act was on the commencement of his employment in March 2001. The complainant contends that the discriminatory treatment has been continuous. A claim for equal pay was also made.
1.2 The complainant referred a claim of discrimination to the Director of the Equality Tribunal on 5 November 2009 under the Employment Equality Acts. On 10 February 2012, in accordance with his powers under section 75 of the Acts, the Director then delegated the case to Tara Coogan- an Equality Officer - for investigation, hearing and decision and for the exercise of other relevant functions of the Director under Part VII of the Acts on which date my investigation commenced. As required by Section 79(1) and as part of my investigation, I proceeded to hearing on 8 June 2012. A previous hearing date had been adjourned due to exceptional circumstances on the request of the then representative (IBEC) of the respondent.
2. The hearing
2.1. Both parties' representatives were advised of the date of the hearing by registered post dated on 30 March 2012. The respondent did attend. The complainant did not attend the hearing. His solicitor did attend the hearing and formally came off record. He informed the Tribunal that despite a number of efforts to contact that complainant over that last couple of months, the solicitor had only received a brief text message in reply in which the complainant stated that he could not attend the hearing.
2.2. In the circumstances I am satisfied that this Tribunal has not been informed of any exceptional circumstances excusing his failure to attend. Section 85A clearly places an onus on the complainant to establish a prima facie case of discrimination before an investigation can proceed.
3.1. In the light of the foregoing I issue the following decision. I find that the complainant's failure to attend a hearing was unreasonable in the circumstances of this case and that any obligation under Section 79 has ceased. I conclude the investigation and find against the complainant.
08 June 2012