EQUALITY OFFICER'S DECISION NO: DEC-E/2012/121
Ms. Deirdre McDermott
(Represented by Patrick Duffy Solicitors)
Meath County Council
(Represented by Local Government Management Services Board)
FILE NO: EE/2009/654
DATE OF ISSUE: 11 September, 2012
1.1 This dispute involves a claim by Ms. Deirdre McDermott that she was discriminated against by Meath County Council on the grounds of gender, marital status and family status in terms of section 6 and contrary to section 8 of the Employment Equality Acts, 1998 and 2008 in regard to access to employment, conditions of employment and promotion /regrading, during her pregnancy and following her maternity leave. A claim of indirect discrimination regarding a bias in favour of Engineering candidates over Science candidates was also submitted but was withdrawn at the hearing.
2.1 The complainant referred a complaint against the above respondent under the Employment Equality Acts 1998 to 2008 to the Equality Tribunal on 2nd September 2009.
2.2 In accordance with his powers under section 75 of the Employment Equality Acts, 1998-2008 the Director delegated the case on 13th of March, 2012 to me, Orla Jones, an Equality Officer, for investigation, hearing and decision and for the exercise of other relevant functions of the Director under Part VII of those Acts This is the date I commenced my investigation. Written submissions were received from both parties. As required by section 79(1) of the Acts and, as part of my investigation, I proceeded to a hearing on 28th May, 2012. Final submissions and information in relation to this matter were submitted on 24th of August, 2012.
3. Summary of complainant's case
3.1 It is submitted that the complainant was employed by the respondent from 1 August 2007, on a temporary basis as an Executive Scientist. The complainant was on a fixed term contract which was due to expire on 14th February 2010 when Ms. A was due to return from a leave of absence. It is submitted by the complainant that, during this period she became pregnant and advised her manager Mr. B of this on 21 August 2008 after her 16 week scan. During this time the complainant applied for a full time position as Executive Engineer/Scientist. She was interviewed for this post on 8th of September 2008 and informed on 15th September 2008 that she had been placed second on a panel.
3.2 The complainant alleges that the reason she was not placed first on the panel was due to her pregnancy. The complainant submits that she was visibly pregnant at the interview in that she was 19 weeks pregnant at that time. The complainant submits that her Manager Mr. B advised her prior to the interview that a member of the interview panel was a good friend of his.
3.3 The complainant submits that she should have been placed first on the panel ahead of Mr. C who won the competition. She submits that her qualifications and experience make her a more suitable candidate for the job. The complainant in her submission provided details of the reasons why she considered herself to be a more suitable candidate for the post.
3.4 It is submitted that the complainant returned from maternity leave on 22 September 2009 to find that her role within the organization had changed. It is submitted that Mr. C was now doing the job which the complainant had been doing, prior to her maternity leave and that she was, on her return, assigned to a lesser role with fewer responsibilities. It is submitted that the complainant returned to work on 22 September 2009 as arranged but that her office, desk and computer were now being used by Mr. C and she had nowhere to sit and work.
3.5 The complainant submits that she had a significantly reduced role on her return from maternity leave. She submits that she went from having staff reporting to her to having none and that she went from reporting directly to the Senior Engineer to now reporting to a Senior Executive Engineer, a management layer below where she had previously reported. The complainant in her submission illustrated an organization chart which showed that there were 2 streams of staff, Waste and Water which reported to the Senior Engineer. The complainant indicated that she had previously been the most senior person in charge of the Waste section and that she reported directly to the Senior Engineer. The complainant indicated that after her maternity leave she was moved to the other stream, that of Water but that this was not a lateral move as she now reported to a Senior Executive Scientist and there was now an additional layer between her and the Senior Engineer.
4. Summary of respondent's case
4.1 The respondent denies that it discriminated against the complainant on grounds of gender, marital status or family status.
4.2 It is submitted by the respondent, that the complainant was employed as a temporary Executive Scientist during the period 1 August 2007 to 14 February 2010 to cover for another employee who was on secondment.
4.3 It is submitted that the complainant applied for and was interviewed for the post of Executive Engineer/Scientist in August 2008 and that she was subsequently informed that she was placed second on a panel.
4.4 It is submitted that the complainant has not furnished any evidence of discrimination on the three grounds other than to allege that the person placed first on the panel is male.
4.5 It is submitted that 6 applications were received and candidates were assessed under 6 pre determined criteria normally used for posts at that level. It is submitted that the interview board made its decision based on factors unconnected with gender, family status or marital status.
4.6 It is submitted that it is not for the Equality Officer to determine who the most suitable candidate for the post was. It is submitted that it was the performance of the candidates at interview which was the deciding factor.
4.7 The respondent submits that the claimant, after her maternity leave, returned to the same post of Executive Engineer/Scientist with associated relevant role and responsibilities that she had filled prior to her maternity leave. It is submitted that the complainants post maternity leave role was in a different Environment function than the waste management function she had been working on prior to her maternity leave but that it had the same level of responsibility and pay.
4.8 The respondent submits that the complainant has been treated in a fair and transparent manner throughout her career with the respondent. The respondent refutes the allegations of the complainant and submits that there is no evidence to substantiate the claims.
4.9 It is submitted by the respondent that the complainants claim is out of date. This is examined in detail below at pgh 5.1.
5. Findings and Conclusions of the Equality Officer
5.1 Preliminary Jurisdictional Issues- Time Limits
5.1.1 It is submitted by the respondent that the complainants claim is out of date. It is submitted that as the complainant was informed of the outcome of the interview on 15th September, 2008 the latest date by which her claim can be made, in accordance with the 6 months time limit set out in Section 77(5) of the Acts, is 14th March 2009. The complainant submitted her claim on 2nd September 2009 and the EE1 form submitted gives the last date of discrimination as 'continuing'.
5.1.2 Section 77(5) of the Acts provides as follows:
"(a) Subject to subsection (6), a claim for redress in respect of discrimination or victimisation may not be referred under this section after the end of the period of 6 months from the date of occurrence or, as the case may require, the most recent occurrence of the act of discrimination or victimisation to which the case relates.
(b) On application by a complainant the Director or Circuit Court, as the case may be, may, for reasonable cause direct that in relation to the complainant paragraph (a) shall have effect as if for the reference to a period of 6 months there were substitutes a reference to such period not exceeding 12 months as is specified in the direction".
Section 77(6A) of the Acts provides as follows:
"For the purposes of this section -
(a) discrimination or victimisation occurs -
(i) if the act constituting it extends over a period, at the end of the
5.1.3 Thus it is clear that section 77(5)(a) provides for the extension of a claim in circumstances where the complainant refers a complaint, which has been lodged within the required six months of the latest incident, and the complainant can show facts supporting an on-going situation of such occurrence. Section 77(6A)(i) goes on to provide for a case of continuing discrimination with the time limit referable to the point at which the discrimination ended. The effect of these provisions is that the complainant can seek redress in respect of occurrences outside of the prescribed period, where the acts relied on constitute ongoing discriminatory treatment. Thus I must now consider whether there was ongoing discrimination and whether all of the incidents were interlinked.
5.1.4 The complainant submitted a complaint of discriminatory treatment on the grounds of gender, marital status and family status on the 2nd of September 2009. This form states that the complainant had been placed second on a panel following an interview process, when she should have been placed first, and that this was due to her pregnancy. She also submitted that the person ranked 4th on this panel was given a permanent post ahead of her however this aspect of the complaint was later withdrawn. On this form the date of the last discriminatory act was given as 'continuing'. In further correspondence, dated 22nd October, 2009, the complainant submitted that, upon her return from maternity leave on 22nd September 2009, she found her job had been allocated to Mr. C who had been awarded first place on a panel, as a result of the interview process which was the subject of the initial complaint by the complainant. This complaint was later expanded upon in the complainant's submission of 26th July, 2010. This statement set out further details of these alleged incidents of discriminatory treatment. The respondent's representative raised issues about the referral of the complaints and statutory time limits in correspondence with the Tribunal secretariat. The case was assigned to me for investigation and decision and I set a hearing for the 28th of May 2012. At that hearing these issues were raised again. Additional information was requested on these matters and submitted to the Tribunal on 24th of August, 2012.
5.1.5 In making my decision on this matter I have taken into consideration the complainant's referral of the complaint and her further letters and statement submitted in support of the complaint, and the oral evidence from both parties.
5.1.6 In considering the issue of whether the matters complained about constitute a chain of linked events or if all of the instances are separate events, I have taken into consideration the Labour Court reasoning in the case of County Louth VEC -v- Don Johnson EDA0712 which considered if separate acts of discrimination were linked. The Court stated:
"Having examined the matter the Court is satisfied that these alleged discriminatory acts did not occur within the time period specified in the Act for submitting a claim. In certain circumstances, the Court may take into consideration previous occasions in which a Complainant was allegedly discriminated against on the same ground, i.e. where the alleged acts can be considered as separate manifestations of the same disposition to discriminate and the most recent occurrence was within the time period specified in the Act.
In Department of Health and Children v Gillen EDA0412 the Court considered an application to include a claim of discrimination, which occurred outside the time limit, the Court found:
"The first of these relates to whether the complaint in relation to the interview held on the 22nd of November, 1999, was in time. Section 77(5) of the Employment Equality Act states that
"a claim for redress in respect of discrimination or victimisation may not be referred under this section after the end of the period of six months from the date of the occurrence, or, as the case may require, the most recent occurrence of the act of discrimination or victimisation to which the case relates".
The complainant's complaint is that after he had reached the age of fifty he was no longer considered by the appellant as being suitable for promotion purely on age grounds. On each occasion he competed, he was rejected by the appellant on the grounds that he was over fifty years of age. The Department submits that if the complainant is correct (which it does not accept) then he was subjected to two separate and distinct acts of discrimination, in two separate and distinct competitions by two separate bodies.
In the view of the Court, these two acts can be considered as separate manifestations of the same disposition to discriminate. If the last alleged act of discrimination is within the time period specified in the Act, which both parties concede it was, the Court may take into consideration previous occasions in which the complainant was allegedly discriminated against on the same ground".
5.1.7 I am also guided by the Labour Courts decision in County Cork VEC Vs Ann Hurley EDA1124 which considered the matter of ongoing discrimination where the Court found as follows
It is clear ......... that in order for acts or omissions outside the time limit to be taken into account there must have been acts or omissions of victimisation (or discrimination) within the time limit. There can be practical difficulties in applying that provision. There must be some reality in the claim that acts of victimisation actually occurred within the limitation period. Otherwise a complainant could revive a claim which had been extinguished by the time limit simply by raising an additional related claim, no matter how tenuous, within the time limit.
The Court went on to state that
it appears that the admissibility of the claim in so far as it relates to alleged acts of victimisation in the period ...... depends upon the validity of the claims of victimisation which allegedly occurred in the period after that date. Their admissibility is also dependent upon some link being established between the occurrences outside the time limit, and those inside the limitation period, which makes it just and reasonable for them to be treated as part of a continuing act upon which the Complainant can rely.
5.1.8 As the first allegation of discrimination was submitted outside of the 6 month time limit, in considering whether all of the incidents are properly before me I must firstly decide whether the discrimination can be considered to be 'ongoing' and whether, the last or most recent alleged act of discrimination stands.
5.1.9 It is clear from the above, that in order to consider the first alleged incident of discrimination (which on its own would be time barred), I must firstly decide whether the second and latest alleged incident of discrimination is proven. In addition, I must be satisfied that the complainant has established a link between the incidents and that they can be considered as separate manifestations of the same disposition to discriminate.
5.2 Discriminatory Treatment
5.2.1 The issue for decision by me now is, whether or not, the respondent discriminated against the complainant, on grounds of gender, family status and marital status in terms of Section 6 and contrary to Section 8 of the Employment Equality Acts, 1998 to 2008, in relation to access to employment, promotion/regrading and conditions of employment. In reaching my Decision I have taken into account all of the submissions, oral and written, made to me in the course of my investigation as well as the evidence at the Hearing.
5.2.2 Section 85A of the Employment Equality Acts sets out the burden of proof which applies in a claim of discrimination. It requires the complainant to establish, in the first instance, facts from which it may be presumed that there has been discrimination. If she succeeds in doing so, then, and only then, is it for the respondent to prove the contrary. The Labour Court elaborated on the interpretation of section 85A in Melbury v. Valpeters EDA/0917 where it stated that section 85A: "places the burden of establishing the primary facts fairly and squarely on the Complainant and the language of this provision admits of no exceptions to that evidential rule".
5.2.3 Section 6(1) of the Employment Equality Acts, 1998 to 2008 provides that discrimination shall be taken to occur where "a person is treated less favourably than another person is, has been or would be treated in a comparable situation on any of the grounds specified in subsection (2)....." Sections 6(2)(a)(b) and (c) of the Acts define the discriminatory grounds of gender, marital status and family status as follows - "as between any 2 persons, ...
(a) that one is a woman and the other is a man,..
(b) that they are of different marital status...
(c) that one has a family and the other does not "...
5.3 Gender-Pregnancy and the special protected period
5.3.1 It is well established jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice and the national courts, that pregnancy is a uniquely female condition and that, where a woman experiences unfavourable treatment on the grounds of pregnancy such treatment constitutes direct discrimination on the grounds of gender within the Equal Treatment Directive. Also, the Maternity Protection Acts, 1994 to 2004, which transposes into Irish Law the provisions of the EU Pregnancy Directive, confers a general right to return to work with the same employer, in the same job and under the same conditions of employment as before the maternity leave (section 26 of those Acts refers). I accept that I do not have jurisdiction in relation to the enforcement of rights under the Maternity Protections Acts. The Acts also provide that any dispute in respect of certain entitlements (including an entitlement to return to work) under those Acts should be referred, in the first instance to a rights commissioner with a right of appeal to the Employment Appeals Tribunal. However, there is no provision in the Acts which prevents an employee from referring a complaint of discriminatory treatment in respect of pregnancy or maternity related issues to the Equality Tribunal or which requires an employee to choose that avenue of redress over referring a complaint to the rights commissioner, if the issues in question might also be appropriate to the maternity protection legislation. The Employment Equality Acts, 1998-2004 provide, inter alia, that claims of discriminatory treatment on any of the nine prohibited grounds should with limited exceptions, be referred, in the first instance, to the Equality Tribunal. I am thus satisfied that I have jurisdiction to investigate this aspect of the complaint.
5.3.2 In the present case the complainant is claiming that she was not permitted to return to the same role or a suitable alternative role following her maternity leave and that, this amounts to discrimination on grounds of gender/family status. It is submitted that the alleged changes to the complainant's role and responsibility amounted to less favourable treatment of her.
5.3.3 The entire period of pregnancy and maternity leave constitutes a special, protected period as outlined in the Court of Justice of the European Union Decisions in Webb v EMO Air Cargo (UK) Ltd4 Brown v Rentokil Ltd5 and Dekker v Stichting Vormingscentrum6. The Labour Court in Trailer Care Holdings Ltd Vs Deborah Healy7 referred to the fact that "the jurisprudential principle that discrimination on grounds of pregnancy constitutes direct discrimination on grounds of sex is now codified in Directive 2006/54/EC on the Principle of Equal Treatment of Men and Women (the Recast Directive). This Directive provides, at Article 2. 2 (c), that any less favourable treatment of a woman related to pregnancy or maternity leave within the meaning of Directive 92/85/EEC constitutes unlawful discrimination for the purpose of that Directive". Futhermore it refers specifically to Dekker v Stichting Vormingscentrum and the fact that "the Court of Justice of the European Union (formally the ECJ) has made it clear that since pregnancy is a uniquely female condition any adverse treatment of a woman on grounds of pregnancy is direct discrimination on ground of her sex. Thus, the law of the European Union recognises the reality that to treat a woman less favourably because she is pregnant is to discriminate against her because she is a woman. That can never be justified. Issues such as disruption caused to an employer's business or costs associated with accommodating a pregnant woman in employment are, as a matter of Union law, wholly irrelevant"8
5.4 Conditions of Employment
5.4.1 The complainant submits that when she resumed work following her maternity leave, in September 2010, she did not return to the post she held previously, but was instead assigned to a lesser role with fewer responsibilities. The complainant asserts that the respondent's actions in this regard constitute less favourable treatment of her contrary to the Employment Equality Act, 1998. The respondent rejects the complainant's contention and states that she returned to the same post on her return from maternity leave which she held before commencing that leave, under the same terms and conditions of employment and with the same salary.
5.4.2 Staffing responsibilities
The complainant submits that she had a significantly reduced role in relation to staff on her return from maternity leave. She submits that she went from having staff reporting to her to having none and that she went from reporting directly to the Senior Engineer to now reporting to a Senior Executive Engineer, a management layer below where she had previously reported. At the hearing, the complainant stated that prior to her maternity leave, she was in charge of the Waste section with 3 staff reporting to her. She advised the hearing that these staff reported to her on an informal basis but that it was considered that they were her staff. The respondent at the hearing stated that the complainant did not have any staff reporting to her either before or after her maternity period and argued that there had been no reduction in her role as regards staff responsibilities. The complainant at the hearing acknowledged that she had not had staff reporting to her officially but stated that she had responsibilities in relation to training these staff. The complainant, at the hearing produced an email from her manager Mr. B which was addressed to her and other staff members and which invited them to a meeting and stated that they might want to bring along any of their staff who may benefit from it. This the complainant contends is proof that she had staffing responsibilities prior to her maternity leave. However, this email was addressed to a number of individuals including the complainant and some of whom did have staff reporting to them. The complainant did not produce any evidence to substantiate her claim that she had gone from having staff to not having staff during the period in question.
5.4.3 Line of reporting
The complainant in her submission illustrated an organization chart which showed that there were 2 streams of staff, Waste and Water which reported to the Senior Engineer. The complainant indicated that she had previously been the most senior person in charge of the Waste section and that she had reported directly to the Senior Engineer. The complainant indicated that after her maternity leave she was moved to the other stream, that of Water but that this was not a lateral move as she now reported to a Senior Executive Scientist and there was now an additional layer between her and the Senior Engineer. By way of illustration the complainant submits that in the 1 year period prior to her maternity leave she had received 222 emails from the Senior Engineer and in the 4 months after she received 6 emails from the Senior Engineer (comparatively she had received 74 per 4 month period prior to maternity leave decreasing to 6 in the same period after her maternity leave). In the course of the hearing the respondent accepted that the complainant had reported directly to the Senior Engineer prior to her maternity leave but that this was due to a vacancy at the level above her post. It emerged at the hearing that this was not the official reporting line as the post occupied by the complainant, prior to her maternity leave, should have been reporting through a Senior Executive Scientist on the Waste side, but as this position was a vacancy due to staffing constraints, she had been reporting directly to the Senior Engineer. Thus, it would appear from the totality of the evidence presented on this issue that the complainant's official line of reporting had not changed and that she continued to occupy the same position on the organization chart.
5.5 Family Status
It is submitted that the complainant returned to work on 22 September 2010 as arranged but that her office, desk and computer were now being used by Mr. C and that she had nowhere to sit and work. The complainant advised the hearing that she did obtain a new desk and work area on her return day but that she had to organise this herself. It is submitted that the complainant attended a pre arranged return to work meeting with Mr. E from HR and her new manager Mr. D, and at this meeting, was told that she would now be assigned to "planning referrals" but when she suggested that she start on some planning files and attend an upcoming planning course she was told by Mr. D to take time to settle in first especially since she had just had a baby. The complainant stated that Mr. D later apologised to her and said he would get a core role for her soon.
5.5.1 The fact that the complainant had to sit at a different desk upon her return from maternity leave and that the respondent was somewhat disorganised when it came to preparations for the complainant's return does not amount evidence of adverse or discriminatory treatment on grounds of gender and/or family status. I must also bear in mind the fact that the complainant was on a temporary contract which was due to expire on 14th February 2010 which may have a bearing on the respondent's reluctance to send her on a training course. As regards family status, the complainant did not provide any evidence of any comparator with the same or different family status other than to say that she felt she was treated this way due to the fact that she had just had a baby. I am not satisfied, based on the totality of the evidence presented on this matter, that the respondent's behavior in this regard would be any different if dealing with another person, either male or female with the same or with a different family status, returning to work after being out for a long period of time, in the circumstances. I am also not satisfied that the respondent's reference to 'taking time to settle in' amounts to evidence of adverse or of less favourable treatment in the circumstances.
5.5.2 The complainant submitted that she was, on her return, from maternity leave assigned to a lesser role with fewer responsibilities, and that Mr. C was now doing her job. The respondent, at the hearing denied that the complainants role and responsibilities were reduced and indicated that, the post which the complainant occupied prior to her maternity leave was that of temporary Executive Scientist (due to expire in February 2010) a post which is interchangeable across work areas, and that the complainant continued to occupy that post and to perform duties appropriate to that post upon her return. The respondent advised the hearing that Mr. C occupied the post of permanent Executive Engineer/Scientist, a post which the complainant herself had also been interviewed for and had been placed second on the panel, this would seem to indicate that his role and that of the complainant are in fact interchangeable.
5.5.3 I am satisfied that the complainants pay and conditions remained the same after her return from maternity leave. I am also satisfied that the complainant was employed at a particular grade, that of Executive Scientist, and I have not been presented with any evidence to substantiate the claim that she was assigned to a lesser role following her return from maternity leave.
5.6 Having examined the totality of the evidence presented on this issue, I am satisfied that the complainant returned to work with the same employer, in the same job and under the same conditions of employment as before her maternity leave. In light of the foregoing I find that the complainant has failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination on grounds of gender and family status. It follows therefore that the respondent did not discriminate against the complainant on the grounds cited.
5.7 Interview Process
5.7.1 The complainant submits that she was interviewed for a full time position as Executive Engineer/Scientist on 8th of September 2008 and that she was informed on 15th September 2008 that she had been placed second on a panel. The complainant alleges that the reason she was not placed first on the panel was due to her pregnancy. She submits that her qualifications and experience make her a more suitable candidate for the job than Mr. C who was placed first on the panel. I should point out that it is not an Equality Officers job to assess who is the more suitable candidate for a post but rather to ascertain whether the interview process was tainted with discrimination. In the present case it is the alleged adverse treatment of an applicant due to her pregnancy which is at issue.
5.7.2 In examining this matter, it is further alleged that this adverse treatment was ongoing and that further manifestations of this discriminatory treatment occurred when the complainant returned from her maternity leave to a lesser post and to changed conditions of employment.
5.7.3 As I have found that the second and most recent alleged incident does not amount to discrimination, I am satisfied that the allegations made by the complainant do not constitute 'ongoing' discriminatory treatment. As there has been no finding of ongoing discriminatory treatment I must now look at the earlier allegation of discriminatory treatment.
5.8 Extension of Time limits
5.8.1 As regards the first alleged incident of discrimination, the date of the most recent discriminatory act must be taken to be the date on which the complainant was informed of the outcome of the interview i.e. the 15th September, 2008, thus the latest date by which her claim can be made, in accordance with the 6 months time limit set out in Section 77(5) of the Acts, is 14th March 2009. The complainant submitted her claim on 2nd September 2009.
5.8.2 Section 77(5)(b) of the Employment Equality Acts 1998 to 2008 provides that, where reasonable cause can be shown the Director may direct that a period not exceeding 12 months be substituted for the normal limitation period of 6 months. In this regard I am mindful of the Labour Court decision in the case of Cementation Skanska and a Worker (WTC/03/44 Determination No. 0426), albeit under different legislation (Organisation of Working Time Act). The Court stated that "in considering if reasonable cause exists, it is for the claimant to show that there are reasons, which both explain the delay and afford an excuse for the delay. The explanation must be reasonable, that is to say it must make sense, be agreeable to reason and not be irrational or absurd." In this regard the Court held that there must be a causal link between the circumstances cited and the delay and the claimant should satisfy the Court as a matter of probability, that had those circumstances not been present she would have initiated the claim in time.
5.8.3 The complainant as part of an application for an extension of time, submitted that her pregnancy and subsequent delivery of her baby, amounted to reasonable cause for the delay in submitting her request. Thus, it would appear that the complainant is asking me to consider that she was unable to pursue her claim due to her pregnancy. It is well established that pregnancy is not an illness and it is a fact that the complainant remained at work until the commencement of her maternity leave in January 2009, she did not avail of sick leave, therefore I can conclude that she was fit to attend work during the period from September 2008 to January 2009, and therefore she could have submitted her complaint during this time period. Having taken all of the circumstances into account, I am of the opinion that the complainant has not shown reasonable cause for the delay in referring her complaint and therefore, I am not empowered to direct an extension of time for the purpose of referring a complaint to the Tribunal I therefore have no jurisdiction to investigate this aspect of her claim.
5.9 Marital Status
No evidence was submitted or presented at the hearing to substantiate the claim of discrimination on grounds of marital status in respect of promotion/regrading/access to employment.
6. DECISION OF THE EQUALITY OFFICER
6.1 I have completed my investigation of this complaint and in accordance with section 79(6) of the Employment Equality Acts, 1998-2008 I issue the following decision. I find -
i. that the respondent did not discriminate against the complainant on grounds of gender and/or family status, in terms of section 6(2) of the Employment Equality Acts, 1998-2004, as she was allowed to return to the job she held immediately before maternity leave when she resumed her employment following that leave.
ii. that the respondent did not discriminate against the complainant on grounds of marital status in terms of section 6(2) of the Employment Equality Acts, 1998 -2008 and contrary to section 8 of those Acts in respect of promotion/regrading/access to employment.
iii. that the claim in relation to discriminatory treatment in the interview process was not lodged in accordance with the time limits provided for in section 77 (5) (a) of the Acts and I therefore have no jurisdiction to investigate this aspect of the claim.
11 September, 2012
4  ECR 1-3567
5  ECR 1-04185
6  ECR 1-3941
7 EDA No 128
8  ECR 1-3941