Discrimination Case Law

Discrimination – Gender

Patricia O’Brien versus Eircom Ltd.

This complaint was lodged under the Employment Equality Act 1998 -2008 under the grounds of equal pay, gender, like work grounds other than gender, victimisation.

The complainant was an employee of the respondent’s predecessor Telecom Eireann since 1969 with the exception of the years 1976 to 1984 and remains an employee of the respondent. She submitted that from September 2002 she has been paid a lower amount, in respect of work which she submits is light work, than two male colleagues.

The complainant was promoted in September 2002 on a permanent contract with a performance-linked bonus. On her appointment to the role the complainant was given the salary of €43,045. She maintains that she understood at the time that this was the salary offered to all service level agreement appointees in the department within that recruitment campaign.

Submitted as evidence was an email received from the Human Resources Partner to the complainant where he stated that the roles of the complainant and Comparator A were sized within the salary band of €43,045 and €53,800. Comparator A’s starting salary was €55,000. The complainant maintains that the pay system lacked transparency which would be sufficient evidence of discrimination and therefore shift the onus on the employer to prove that the differential wages between male and female employees were not based on sex.

The roles, salary and like work of Comparator A, B and C were all scrutinised by the tribunal thoroughly.  The claimant also put forward a strong case for victimisation as a direct result of her bringing the difference in her salary to those of her male colleagues to the head of Credit Management.

The Equality Officer found that the complainant is entitled to equal remuneration with Comparator A from 2003 to present and include other entitlements and benefits also. The complainant was also awarded compensation of €55,000 for the distress which was caused by victimisation.


Discrimination – Race

Jose Lito Quiber v Johnston Logistics Limited 

The complainant worked as an articulated truck driver for the respondent. He claimed that he carried out the same work or work of equal value to two named comparators, Mr Meade, who was an articulated truck driver and Mr Grant, who was a rigid vehicle driver. The respondent rejected that the complainant performed “like work” with the named comparators. The respondent accepted that the complainant and Mr Meade performed the same work; their contention being that the complainant performed less work.

The respondent contended that this was the reason other than race for the difference in remuneration. The Equality Officer found it difficult to accept this as the complainant had been working for them for nearly four years. Furthermore, the complainant was never told that he was underperforming and after a short settling in period he carried out the same work as the comparator.

The Equality Officer found that the second comparator, Mr Grant was paid less than Mr Meade because of the different nature of his work. It was accepted that Mr Meade was performing work of a higher value than Mr Grant.  However Mr Grant was paid more than the complainant.

Given that the Equality Officer found that the complainant performed like work with Mr Meade, it must be accepted that he performed work of higher value than Mr Grant and in accordance with section 7(3) of the Acts it was found that they performed work of equal value. There were no objective grounds other than race for the difference in pay in accordance with section 29(5) of the Act and therefore, the Equality Officer found that the complainant had been discriminated by the respondent