The Equality Tribunal
Equal Status Acts
DECISION NO. DEC-S2015-006
A Transport Provider
File reference: ES/2013/0096
Date of issue: 13 May 2015
HEADNOTES: Employment Equality Acts – Disability – reasonable accommodation
1.1 This dispute concerns a claim by A Customer ( hereinafter referred to as “the complainant”) that he was discriminated against, contrary to the provisions of the Equal Status Acts (hereinafter referred to as “the Acts”), by A Transport Company (hereinafter referred to as “the respondent”) on grounds of disability when they failed to provide him with reasonable accommodation that would allow him as a person suffering from epilepsy to have improved access to their services.
1.2 The complainant referred a claim to the Director of the Equality Tribunal on the 29th August 2013. On the 12th February 2015, in accordance with his powers under the Acts, the Director delegated the case to me, Peter Healy, an Equality Officer, for investigation, hearing and decision and for the exercise of other relevant functions of the Director under the Acts, on which date my investigation commenced.
2. Findings & Conclusions of the Equality Officer
2.1 Submissions were received from both parties and a hearing of the complainant was scheduled for the 13th March 2015 but was adjourned, at short notice, at the request of the complainant. A new hearing date was set for the 7th May 2015 and both parties were notified by registered and ordinary post. The notification to both parties requested that they advise, by return, the names of attendees and if any special facilities were required for their participation at the hearing. The respondent replied to this notification but no response was received from the complainant. In the absence of a response from the complainant a delivery confirmation was obtained from An Post confirming delivery of the notification to the complainant.
I sat to hear the case as notified. The respondent and their representative were in attendance but the complainant was not.
2.2 The following Monday, the Tribunal received an E-Mail from the complainant stating that he had “become a bit forgetful this last while and completely forgot about the hearing last Thursday.” No medical or other supporting documentation was provided with this E-Mail.
3. Conclusions of the Equality Officer
3.1 I am satisfied that the complainant was on notice that a hearing in his case was scheduled for the 7th May 2015. While mindful of the complainant’s disability, taking into account all of the circumstances including the absence of any communications from the complainant following notification of the new hearing, the previous adjournment and the scheduling of the hearings in the afternoons at the request of the complainant, I am satisfied that this Tribunal has done all that is reasonable to provide for the complainant’s attendance at a hearing of his complaint.
In the light of the foregoing, and in accordance with the Acts, I issue the following decision:
As part of my investigation under Section 25 of the Acts, I am obliged to hold a Hearing. I find that the complainant’s failure to attend such a hearing was unreasonable in the circumstances and that any obligation under Section 25 has ceased. As no evidence was given at the Hearing in support of the allegation of discrimination, I conclude the investigation and find against the complainant.
13 May 2015