THE EQUALITY TRIBUNAL
EMPLOYMENT EQUALITY ACTS 1998-2011
Ms Agnieszka Spyra (represented by Dermot Sheehan, B.L., instructed by O’Hanrahan & Co., Solicitors)
MK Human Resources Ltd t/a Temple Recruitment (represented by James H. Murphy & Son, Solicitors)
File References: EE/2012/140
Date of Issue: 20th December 2013
Keywords: Race – discriminatory dismissal – employment agency – continued employment with agency
1.1. The case concerns a claim by Ms Agnieszka Spyra that Temple Recruitment Ltd discriminated against her on the ground of race contrary to Section 6(2)(h) of the Employment Equality Acts 1998 to 2008, in terms of discriminatory dismissal.
1.2. The complainant referred a complaint under the Employment Equality Acts 1998 to 2008 to the Director of the Equality Tribunal on 1 March 2012. A submission was received from the complainant on 18 May 2012. A submission was received from the respondent on 3 August 2012. On 25 October 2013, in accordance with his powers under S. 75 of the Acts, the Director delegated the case to me, Stephen Bonnlander, 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 this date my investigation commenced. As required by Section 79(1) of the Acts and as part of my investigation, I proceeded to hold a joint hearing of the case on 10 December 2013.
2. Summary of the Complainant’s Written Submission
2.1. The complainant states that she was initially employed by another employment agency and contracted by that agency to work for Ryanair, starting there as a customer services agent from 1 October 2007. When her previous employment agency lost the Ryanair contract, she was told to sign a new contract with the within respondent. That was at the beginning of June 2011. The complainant states that her employment with Ryanair was subsequently terminated on 31 October 2011, along with three other workers. One of these was Irish, one was Polish like the complainant, and one was Lithuanian. The Irish worker was subsequently taken back on. The complainant contends in this case, and in parallel proceedings brought against Ryanair, that this amounts to discriminatory dismissal on the ground of race.
3. Summary of the Respondent’s Written Submission
3.1. The respondent denies discriminating against the complainant as alleged or at all. It submits that the complainant continues to have a valid contract of employment with them, and that when her placement with Ryanair ended, she was placed with other clients. Accordingly, the respondent strongly disputes ever dismissing the complainant.
4. Conclusions of the Equality Officer
4.1. The issue for decision in this case is whether the complainant was discriminatorily dismissed within the meaning of the Acts by the within respondent.
4.2. In evaluating the evidence before me, I must first consider whether the complainant has established a prima facie case pursuant to S. 85A of the Acts. The Labour Court has held consistently that the facts from which the occurrence of discrimination may be inferred must be of “sufficient significance” before a prima facie case is established and the burden of proof shifts to the respondent.
4.3. In coming to my decision, I have considered all oral and written evidence presented to me by the parties.
4.4. It became clear during the hearing of the complaint that there is no dispute between the parties that the complainant’s contract of employment with the respondent continues to be in existence, and that since December 2011, following a brief spell in which the respondent was not able to offer her work after Ryanair withdrew agency work from her, she has been placed as an agency worker with Irish Ferries. The complainant’s complaint against Ryanair is subject to separate proceedings. With regard to the within complaint, I am satisfied that the complainant has never been dismissed. Accordingly, a complaint of discriminatory dismissal against the within respondent cannot succeed.
5.1. Based on all of the foregoing, I find, pursuant to S. 79(6) of the Acts, that MK Human Resources Ltd, trading as Temple Recruitment, did not dismiss Ms Agnieszka Spyra, whether discriminatorily or otherwise, within the meaning of the Acts.
20 December 2013