The Equality Tribunal
EMPLOYMENT EQUALITY ACTS
DECISION NO. DEC-E2012-029
MCR Building Services Limited
(Represented by Waters & Associates, Solicitors)
File reference: EE/2008/406, EE/2008/670 & EE/2008/847
Date of issue: 14 March 2012
HEADNOTES: Employment Equality Acts Sections 6 and 8 - Race - Promotion, Training, Conditions of Employment, Equal Pay, Harassment, Victimisatory Dismissal - Failure to Attend - Unreasonable.
1.1 This dispute concerns claims by Mr Rafal Rusek that he was discriminated against by MCR Building Services Limited on the grounds of race contrary to section 6(2)(h) of the Employment Equality Acts in relation to promotion, training and conditions of employment in terms of sections 8 of the Acts, that he performs "like work" with a named comparator in terms of section 7 of the Acts, that he was harassed in terms of section 14A of the Acts and that he suffered victimisatory dismissal in terms of section 74 (2) of the Acts.
1.2 The complainant referred claims to the Director of the Equality Tribunal on 18 June 2008, 8 October 2008 and 8 December 2008 under the Acts. On 9 January 2012, in accordance with his powers under section 75 of the Acts, the Director delegated the case to me, Hugh Lonsdale, 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. Submissions were received from both sides and in accordance with Section 79(1) of the Acts and as part of my investigation I proceeded to a hearing on 13 March 2012.
1.3 Both parties were informed of the date of the hearing by registered post on 9 January 2012 (nine weeks before the hearing date) and in response the complainant's representative informed the Tribunal on 20 February 2012 they had been advised that the complainant had returned to Poland but were unaware of 'his exact whereabouts'. They requested an adjournment in order to have more time to find the complainant. The Equality Tribunal's procedures state: "It is extremely important that the Complainant keep the Tribunal informed of his or her current address and contact details as failure to do so can result in the complaint being dismissed", which makes it clear that the responsibility for ensuring the Equality Tribunal is informed of any change to their contact details lies with the complainant. In these circumstances the adjournment request was refused and the complainant's representative was informed that the hearing would proceed as notified. The day before the hearing the representative informed the Equality Tribunal that they would not be representing the complainant at the hearing. The complainant did not attend the hearing. The respondent attended the hearing.
In accordance with Section 79(6) of the Employment Equality Acts I issue the following decision. As part of my investigation under Section 79 of the Acts, I am obliged to hold a hearing. I am satisfied that the complainant's representative was aware of the arrangements for the hearing and that he made best efforts to notify the complainant. However, the complainant had failed to advise the Equality Tribunal or his representative of a change to his contact details. 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 allegations of discrimination, I conclude the investigation and find against the complainant.
14 March 2012