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€93,498.00 AWARDED FOR GENDER DISCRIMINATION

Facts: The Claimant worked as a Deputy Principal with the Respondent. During her maternity leave (1st December to 5th June) the position of Acting Principal arose. The Claimant submitted that she was discriminated against on the basis of her family status, when she did not get  promoted  to the role of Principal. She claimed that the role was given to her male colleague and that she was not informed in time of the open position to enable her to properly prepare for the interview. The Claimant    challenged how the Respondent could have scored the male candidate higher than her in 9 of 10 criteria, when  she had more experience and qualifications. When the Claimant requested the Respondent to provide her with feedback regarding her interview, there were no feedback provided.

The Respondent argued that the Claimant had retained her allowances and other entitlements as Deputy Principal on a personal to holder basis rather than retaining the rights and privileges of a Deputy Principal as she claimed. The Respondent also argued that the post was offered to 2 other female colleagues in the first instance, who declined the offer. Therefore the alleged gender discrimination was not true. 

Findings: Upon examination of the selection criteria, the Adjudicating Officer (AO) was of the opinion that the Respondent’s assertion about the determining criteria for selection was not performance at the interview but the point system, where the Claimant scored lesser than the male candidate. The AO held that since the Claimant had more ‘relevant’ experience and higher qualification than the successful male candidate, the Respondent failed to provide sufficient evidence to rebut the discrimination claim made by the Claimant. Referring to Von Colson and Kamann v Land Nordrhein – Westfalen 1984 ECR 1819, the AO held that in order for the compensation to be effective, proportionate and dissuasive, the sanction must have a real deterrent effect.

The AO awarded the Claimant a compensation of 78 Weeks of remuneration amounting to €93,498 for the breach of her rights.

Note to employers: The awards in discrimination claims are meant to have a deterring effect and hence the compensation awarded may be  much higher than in other claims. In order to avoid such a claim, employers should have a very transparent and rational process and a pre-set standardized system for selection of candidates with written records of same.

https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/cases/2019/september/adj-00018053.html

19th September 2019

Anne O’Connell Solicitors

Fitzwilliam Hall

Fitzwilliam Place

Dublin 2.

www.aocsolicitors.ie

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