Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2011
DECISION NO: DEC-S2012-040
(represented by Dundon Callanan Solicitors)
File No. ES/2012/0012
Date of Issue: 09 October 2012
Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2011 - Discrimination, section 3 - race ground, section - less favourable treatment, section 5(1) - correct respondent - service provider section 4(6)(b) - misconceived, section 22.
1 Delegation under the Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2004
1.1 The complainants referred their claims to the Director of the Equality Tribunal under the Equal Status Acts on 17 February 2012. In accordance with his powers under section 75 of the Employment Equality Acts, 1998 - 2011, the Director then delegated the case to me, Conor Stokes, 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 20 August 2012. A hearing was scheduled for 20 September 2012.
2.1 The dispute concerns a claim by the complainant that he was treated contrary to section 5(1), by the respondent. The respondent was notified in January 2012 in accordance with the provisions of the Acts.
3. Complainant submissions
3.1 The complainant submitted that he was discriminated against by being de-listed from a grinds website located within a national university on the basis that he is an Asian male person.
3.2 The complainant submitted that no proper procedures were followed in his case and that there was no legitimate reason to remove his name from the website.
3.3 The complainant submitted that the respondent should be under no obligation to follow another's order in removing his name but that when he sought an explanation, the respondent failed to provide him with an adequate reason.
3.4 The complainant submitted that the respondent removed his name from the grinds register while acting as a self-appointed "moral entrepreneur", that the respondent fabricated an excuse to remove his name, gratuitously and in a racially motivated act.
3.5 When it was pointed out to the complainant (by the student union to which the respondent was attached) that the respondent was simply acting as its agent and that it - the student union, should more appropriately be named as the respondent, the complainant submitted that the respondent was acting in her own capacity and that he did not take kindly to the efforts of the Student's Union to interfere in this matter.
4 Respondent submissions
4.1 The respondent refutes all allegations of discrimination and further refutes that she provided the mentioned service in either her personal capacity or in her capacity as an elected officer of the Student's Union.
4.2 At all times, the respondent has maintained that she is not the correct respondent in that as an elected officer of the Student's Union, she was not acting in a private, personal capacity but as an agent of the Student's Union.
4.3 In indicating that it was the appropriate respondent, the Student's Union refuted the allegations made by the complainant and made a number of written submissions directed toward defending the substance of the complaints.
5.1 Prior to the hearing of this matter, the complainant made it clear that he was not pursuing a complaint against the Student's Union that sought to be named as the respondent. At the hearing of the matter, the Equality Officer sought to clarify who the respondent in the matter was. The complainant confirmed that his case was against the respondent personally and further sought to have the representative of the Student's Union excluded from the proceedings on the basis that they were not the named respondent and that his case was purely against the named respondent acting in her personal capacity. The Equality Officer, having received clarification from the complainant, excluded the representative of the Student's Union and proceeded to hear the evidence in the case against the respondent.
5.2 The complainant was asked to indicate what service the respondent had been providing that would fall within the confines of the Acts. In response the complainant made a number of verbal submissions unsupported by any written or other evidence about the service provided by the respondent. Each of these submissions was countered by the respondent who indicated what person and/or organisation provided each service. The complainant indicated that he could not make any further specific points on this element of his complaint.
5.3 On the basis of the oral testimony and written submissions before me, I am persuaded by the respondent's account of responsibilities within the organisation to which she was attached. On balance, I conclude that she was not personally or professionally responsible for providing any of the services on which the complaint is grounded. Section 4(6)(b) of the Acts states that "in this section "provider of a service" means the person responsible for providing a service under section 5(1)" As the complainant has specifically and repeatedly excluded the Student's Union as a possible respondent, I am left with no choice but to find against him on the grounds that the respondent did not provide any service under Section 4(6)(b) of the Acts upon which a complaint may be founded. In the circumstances outlined I find that this complaint is misconceived and therefore this complaint must fail.
6.1 Section 22 of the Acts states inter alia that "the Director may dismiss a claim at any stage if of the opinion that it is misconceived". As I have found that this complaint is misconceived, I therefore dismiss the within complaint.
09 October 2012