Disability charity found to have discriminated on grounds of disability

WRC orders charity to apologise and pay compensation of €8,000

A disability charity that discriminated against a prospective employee on the grounds of disability has been ordered to apologise and pay compensation of €8,000.

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) found a job application by a man with dyslexia and autism had been treated inconsistently by the charity, and that the selection process had been "bereft of transparency".

Neither the charity nor the complainant were named in the decision of the WRC, which held that the organisation had discriminated against the applicant in breach of employment equality laws.

The complainant had applied for a supervisor position with the charity in March 2016, submitting his CV and disclosing in an attached personal statement that he had dyslexia and Asperger’s Syndrome.


He told an adjudication hearing of the WRC that he was “shocked” to learn that he had not been shortlisted for interview by the organisation, as he believed that he possessed the requisite experience for the role.

He subsequently made inquiries and was informed by telephone that there had been a miscalculation in the assessment of his application, which overlooked some of his qualifications and resulted in him not being called for interview.

The complainant did not accept this explanation and sought an investigation under equality legislation in order to ensure that the disability disclosed in his application had not been a factor in the outcome.

He said the exclusion had made him fell “less than what I am”, and raised the issue before the WRC because he did not want the same thing to happen to anyone else.

In its submission to the WRC, the charity maintained the error resulting in the complainant’s exclusion was not intentional, and the paragraph of his application mentioning his disability had not been read by those involved in the selection process.

They had apologised to the complainant for the error, but reaffirmed that they had not discriminated against him. The hiring process had been altered as a result of the situation, they added.

However, WRC adjudication officer Patsy Doyle said there had been a number of erasures and revisions on the final marking sheet for applications. This was a cause of concern, she said.

It was clear that the complainant’s application had been treated inconsistently with other applicants, and there had been an “inconsistent and erroneous” application of the selection criteria, she added.

In her decision, Ms Doyle found that the charity had discriminated against the complainant on grounds of disability as a prospective employee, contrary to the Employment Equality Acts.