Commission Legally Assists Man in Resolution of Disability Discrimination Case

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (“the Commission”) has provided legal assistance to a man who is blind in a discrimination claim under the Equal Status Acts.

The claimant was experiencing ongoing difficulties in using the online banking services of a high-street bank. His first difficulty was completing a purchase using online banking. There were issues with the functionality of the bank’s online banking app, including when he was asked to use strong customer authentication. Steps such as swiping and tapping on a specified location on the screen can be obstacles for a person who is blind.

As a consequence, the complainant could not access all the services of the bank online.  He also experienced difficulties accessing his bank statements online as the accessibility features of the document had been disabled. These accessibility features are essential for blind service users to autonomously access digital documents either by using voiceover technology or a “read aloud” function.

The man had referred a complaint on the grounds of disability and failure to provide reasonable accommodation to the Workplace Relations Commission against the bank.

With assistance from the Commission, the man settled the claim on terms satisfactory to both parties.

Chief Commissioner Sinéad Gibney said:

“The Commission welcomes this legal settlement as banking is an essential service that we all need to be able to access, including those amongst us who have disabilities. Private services, including banks are legally obliged to put in place measures to enable a person with a disability to use their service.

As more and more services embrace technology, we must be vigilant as a society as to the impact that this has on all groups.”


Notes for Editors:

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Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.