EQUAL STATUS ACTS, 2000 to 2015
DECISION NO. DEC-S2019-009
William Conboy & Pauline Conboy
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade
(represented by Ms. Aoife Carroll B.L. on the
instructions of the Chief State Solicitor)
File reference: ES/2012/0172
Date of issue: 18th November, 2019
- Background and Procedure to the Complaints
1.1 The instant complaints were referred to the Director of the Equality Tribunal under the Equal Status Acts on the 6th December, 2012. Ms. Pauline Conboy has an intellectual disability and the instant complaint was referred on her behalf by her brother (Mr. William Conboy) in which it was claimed that she was subjected to discrimination by the Respondent on the grounds of disability contrary to Section 5 of the Acts in relation to the cancellation of her Irish passport. It was also claimed that the respondent failed to provide Ms. Pauline Conboy with reasonable accommodation contrary to Section 4 of the Acts in relation to this matter. I am satisfied that Mr. William Conboy is entitled to pursue the complaint on behalf of his sister in accordance with the provisions of Section 20(b) of the Acts.
1.2 Mr. William Conboy also referred a complaint to the Director of the Equality Tribunal in which it was claimed that he was subjected to discrimination by association by the Respondent on the grounds of disability contrary to Section 5 of the Equal Status Acts in relation to this matter.
1.3 On the 16th May, 2019, in accordance with his powers under section 75 of the Employment Equality Act, 1998 and under the Equal Status Acts, 2000 the Director General delegated the case to me, Enda Murphy, an Equality Officer/Adjudication Officer, under Part III of the Equal Status Act, 2000 on which date my investigation commenced. As required by Section 25(1) and as part of my investigation, I proceeded to schedule a hearing for the 24th October, 2019. The hearing notification letter was sent to the parties by ordinary and registered post on 24th July, 2019.
1.4 This decision is issued by me following the establishment of the Workplace Relations Commission on 1 October 2015, as an Adjudication Officer who was an Equality Officer prior to 1 October 2015, in accordance with Section 84(3) of the Workplace Relations Act, 2015.
- Summary of the Complainants’ Case
- 2.1 The complainants did not attend the hearing and were not represented.
- Summary of the Respondent’s Case
- 3.1 The respondent denies the claims of discrimination in respect of both complainants. The respondent and its witnesses were in attendance at the hearing and were prepared to adduce evidence in response to the complaints.
- Findings and Conclusions of Equality Officer/Adjudication Officer
- 4.1 The Hearing was scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on 24th October, 2019. On the day of the hearing when it was evident that the complainants were not in attendance, I suspended the hearing for some time to allow for their late arrival. In that time, I made contact with the Workplace Relations Commission Secretariat to see if the complainants had been in touch to explain their non-attendance. I was informed they had not made contact. On that basis, I started the hearing and as the complainants did not attend, and as no evidence was given at this hearing in support of their allegations of discrimination, I conclude the investigation and find against the complainants.
5.1 As part of my investigation under Section 25 of the Equal Status Acts, I am obliged to hold a hearing. I am satisfied that the complainants were notified of the arrangements for the hearing by letter dated 24th July, 2019. I find that the complainants’ 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 allegations of discrimination, I conclude the investigation and find against the complainants.
Equality Officer/Adjudication Officer
18th November, 2019