EMPLOYMENT EQUALITY ACTS 1998-2008
Decision DEC - E2012 - 077
Ms Sahara Beg
Aon Commercial Services and Operations Ireland Limited
as well as two named employees
File References: EE/2009/447,486,487
Date of Issue:19 June, 2012
1.1. This case concerns a complaint by Ms Beg (hereinafter referred to as "the complainant") that she was discriminated against in relation to access to employment and equal pay by Aon Commercial Services and Operations Ireland Limited and two named employees (hereinafter referred to as "the respondent") on the grounds of gender and race contrary to sections 6(2)(a) and 6(2)(h) of the Employment Equality Acts (hereinafter referred to as "the Acts.
2.1 The complainant referred the complaints under the Employment Equality Acts to the Director of the Equality Tribunal on 8 and 16th July, 2009. On the 2nd February, 2012, in accordance with his powers under section 75 of the Acts, the Director delegated the cases 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 VII of the Employment Equality Acts, on which date my investigation commenced.
3. Attendance at hearing
3.1. On 23rd February, 2012, and in accordance with the normal procedures of the Tribunal, the parties were notified in writing, by registered post, of the date, time and location of the hearing that was scheduled to take place in relation to the matter, in accordance with Section 79(6) of the Acts.
3.2. The complainant contracted the Tribunal on 4th March 2012 to confirm her attendance at the hearing. The hearing was opened at the scheduled time and date of 11 a.m on Monday, 11th June, 2012. The matter was adjourned until 11.45, as the complainant did not arrive.
At 11.19am, I received an email from the complainant (sent at 9.34am) stating that due to bad weather and resulting London Transport delays during the school run, she had missed her flight from London. The complainant requested that the matter proceed by teleconference.
3.3. The respondent attended the hearing and noted that the complainant had provided no evidence of her flight, no evidence that there were any delays which would have caused her to miss her flight and no evidence of attempting to get a later flight. The respondent also noted that one of their witnesses had travelled from London on his own time to attend the hearing (he was not longer an employee of the respondent).
4.1. In accordance with Section 79(6) of the Employment Equality Acts I issue the following decision:
4.2. As part of my investigation under Section 79 of the Acts, I am obliged to hold a hearing. I note the following:
- The complainant was notified of the arrangements for the hearing in writing, by recorded delivery, on 23rd February, 2012.
- The complainant provided no evidence that she had booked a flight, no evidence that there were any delays which would have caused her to miss her flight and no evidence of attempting to get a later flight.
- The complainant is a barrister and may be expected to be aware of the consequences for failure to attend the hearing to establish a prima facie case and to present herself for oral cross -examination by the respondent.
I find that the complainant's failure to attend such a hearing was unreasonable in the circumstances and that any obligation under Section 79 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.
19th June, 2012