Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2011
DECISION NO: DEC-S2012-021
ADM Taxi Hardship Scheme
File No. ES/2005/0247
Date of Issue: 7 June 2012
Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2004 - Discrimination - Age ground- failure to attend a hearing - prima facie case
1. Delegation under the Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2004
1.1. Mr. Gerard Robinson referred a claim to the Director of the Equality Tribunal under the Equal Status Acts on 10 August 2005. In accordance with his powers under section 75 of the Employment Equality Acts, 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 Acts. The investigation under section 25 commenced on 5 December 2008. The investigation was put on hold pending a Circuit Court appeal in a related case.
1.2. An oral hearing, which exceptionally dealt with a preliminary matter only, was held in Dublin on 26 July 2011. In the interest of efficient administration of justice - the jurisdictional matter applied to each case - the complainants were invited to a joint hearing dealing with the preliminary matter only.
2.1. The dispute concerns a complaint by Mr. Robinson that he was treated less favourably on the age ground contrary to section 5(1). The respondent was notified 4 May 2005 in accordance with the provisions of the Acts.
3.1. A hearing was scheduled to take place on 26 July 2011. The parties were notified in writing by registered post. The respondent attended. The complainant did not attend the hearing put sent his apologies about an hour after the hearing had begun. No further correspondence, citing any exceptional reasons as to why the complainant did not attend, has been forthcoming.
4.1. Section 38A (1) of the Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2011 sets out the burden of proof which applies to claims of discrimination. It requires the complainant to establish, in the first instance, facts upon which he can rely in asserting that he suffered discriminatory treatment. It is only where such a prima facie case has been established that the onus shifts to the respondent to rebut the inference of discrimination raised.
4.2. 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 25 has ceased. I conclude the investigation and find against the complainant.
4.3. Therefore, under section 25(4) of the Acts, I conclude this investigation and find in favour of the respondent.
7 June 2012