Parents of CoI pupil awarded €750 over son’s discrimination

Tribunal finds prima facie that evidence produced showed boy was shown less favourable treatment

Parents  claimed their son received unfair treatment as he was of Church of Ireland faith and a majority of other pupils were of the Catholic faith. Photograph: Getty/stock

Parents claimed their son received unfair treatment as he was of Church of Ireland faith and a majority of other pupils were of the Catholic faith. Photograph: Getty/stock

 

Parents who complained of less-favourable treatment shown to their son by a Gaelscoil have been awarded €750 by the Equality Tribunal.

The mother and father complained on behalf of the boy that he was discriminated against by the National School on religious grounds in contravention of Equal Status legislation.

They claimed he received unfair treatment as he was of Church of Ireland faith and a majority of other pupils were of the Catholic faith.

The school informed the parents initially that the school was Interdenominational in ethos but that only Catholic and Church of Ireland faiths would be taught. They alleged that their son remained in class while a considerable amount of time was spent preparing Catholic children for First Communion. They later questioned why Catholic religious instruction was being offered and were told by the principal that as both faiths are 95 per cent the same, the education offered would be sufficient for both.

Their son did not attend the First Communion ceremony and the parents allege their son was treated less favourably by the school as a result and treated as if he had done something wrong. The boy did not attend Confirmation for the Catholic pupils at a later date and they alleged that the principal again treated their son less favourably though not in the same manner as before.

In its written submission the school defended its ethos and practices and contradicted some of the claims made by the parents concerning the principal.

On the day of the hearing the chair of the board of management made an unreserved apology in relation to the alleged behaviour of the principal.

The tribunal found that the boy had been treated less favourably and accepted the parents had produced prima facie evidence of discrimination.

Its judgment records the fact that the parents’ daughter is also attending the school and no issues have arisen in relation to her treatment.

The tribunal awarded the sum of €750 to the parents and the school was ordered to review its policies and procedures to ensure they are in line with the provisions of the Equal Status Acts and that a notice to this effect is placed in a prominent position within the school.

In a separate judgment, the tribunal upheld a claim by Mr Xin Wei that he was discriminated against on the grounds of race by his employer Drew International Ltd.

The complainant alleged that while working as a waiter/bartender, he received less pay than a named comparator who is Irish. In 2010 the complainant was receiving €10 per hour, while the compactor was paid between €13 and €14 per hour.

Frequent complaints were made to the bar manager but no reasonable or logical explanation was forthcoming, the tribunal was told.

The respondent said in response that, due to insolvency, all wages were frozen at the date of the appointment of the receiver. Race discrimination was denied.

The tribunal found the respondent did not discriminate against the complainant in relation to promotion and conditions of employment.

However, it found that the complainant was discriminated against in that there were no objective grounds other than race for the difference in pay.

The company was ordered to pay to the complainant arrears of €2 per hour for 20 hours per week from February 2009 until July 2011 totalling €4,960.