EMPLOYMENT EQUALITY ACTS 1998-2011
Decision DEC - E2012 - 126
Mr Antonio Luis Rebelo dos Santos and Mr Adelino Fernandes da Cruz
(represented by Marguerite Bolger SC, instructed by Tom O'Regan & Co Solicitors)
RAC Eire Partnership
(represented by Clare Bruton BL, instructed by Mason Hayes Curran Solicitors)
File References: EE/2009/467,478
Date of Issue: 28 September, 2012
1.1. This case concerns complaints by Mr Rebelo dos Santos and Mr Fernades da Cruz (hereinafter referred to as "the complainants") that they suffered discriminatory treatment in relation to a Collective Agreement, as well as in relation to training, conditions of employment and pay by RAC Eire Partnership (hereinafter referred to as "the respondent") on the ground of race contrary to section 6(2)(h) of the Employment Equality Acts (hereinafter referred to as "the Acts.)
2.1 The complainants referred their complaints under the Employment Equality Acts to the Director of the Equality Tribunal on 13th and 14th July, 2009 respectively. On the 30th July, 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 31st July, 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. These 2 complaints were similar to a group of 8 other complaints which were being heard on the same day, with the same legal representatives against the same respondent. The other 8 complainants and their legal team were in attendance at the hearing. Counsel for the complainants requested that the matter should be adjourned on the basis that the complainants had to travel from Portugal and Angola and were unable to, due to financial hardship.
3.3. The respondent attended the hearing and noted that the other 8 complainants, with similar cases, had all travelled from Portugal for the Hearing. They stated that several respondent employees travelled from Portugal for the Hearing. They stated that it would cause considerable financial hardship to the respondent to be obliged to return to Ireland with all their witnesses for an adjourned hearing. They pointed out that no notice had been given of either complainant's failure to attend and no evidence was provided to support their request for an adjournment.
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 31st July, 2012.
- Prior to the Hearing of the matter, the complainants made no attempt to contact the Tribunal to request an adjourned date. They complainants simply did not show up on the day of the Hearing and no evidence was provided to support a last minute adjournment request.
- The complainants were legally represented at all times; therefore it can be assumed that were aware of the consequences of failure to attend the Hearing.
I find that the complainants' failure to attend such a Hearing was unreasonable in the circumstances and that any obligation under Section 79 has ceased. I conclude the investigation and find against each of the complainants.
28th September, 2012