Commission Welcomes WRC Ruling in Garda Representative Association Victimisation Case

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (the Commission) has today welcomed a Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) ruling in favour of a woman who challenged the Garda Representative Association (GRA) on unlawfully discriminating and victimising her when she applied for the role of Assistant to the General Secretary of the organisation.

Tara McManus, a member of An Garda Síochána since February 2000, lodged a claim in July 2020 with the WRC under the Employment Equality Acts against the GRA, stating her belief that she had been unlawfully discriminated against when she applied for the position of Assistant to the General Secretary, on the basis of her gender.

A second claim was lodged by Ms McManus in December 2021 where she claimed she was subjected to a further incident of discrimination regarding a second application she had made for the same position, and subjected to victimisation as a consequence of her lodging the first claim of discrimination.

The WRC ruled in a decision published today that: ‘In the instant case I conclude that the Complainant was victimised prior to the ratification process by at least one member of the CEC [Central Executive Committee]. It is impossible to say what effect his statement outlined above may have had on other members prior to the vote. The complaint of victimisation is well-founded.’

In taking the case, Ms. McManus stated that she was not seeking monetary compensation and so was not awarded any such compensation. But the WRC has ordered that she now be appointed to the position of Assistant to the General Secretary within 6 weeks, and that the entire Central Executive Committee must provide an assurance that there will be no negativity shown to her on her appointment.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission provided legal representation to Ms. McManus in her complaint to the WRC, in our capacity as Ireland’s National Equality Body.  This is a significant case for the interpretation of Ireland’s employment equality law and how it impacts women in traditionally male sectors of employment

In the written conclusion, the Adjudication Officer stated:

“Victimisation, as a standalone cause of action, protects employees from fear of retaliatory conduct on the part of their employer for them relying on discrimination law or raising complaints of discrimination with their employer. It is an important form of protection as it has been shown that it is relatively common for employees who raise discrimination issues in the workplace to be subjected to a hostile working environment or deterioration in working conditions, either from management or from colleagues.”

Sinéad Gibney, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission stated:

“This case at the Workplace Relations Commission raised significant issues on the interpretation of Ireland’s employment equality law and victimisation.

“The prohibition on victimisation is an important part of Ireland’s equality law, as it protects employees who raise complaints and confront discrimination. It takes courage to do this – courage that we’ve seen demonstrated by Tara in taking this case, and all others who call out such behaviour.

“Having provided legal representation to Tara in her case, we welcome this WRC decision and its order to appoint her to the position of Assistant to the General Secretary.”

ENDS/

For further information, please contact:       

Sarah Clarkin, IHREC Communications Manager,

01 8592641 / 087 4687760
sarah.clarkin@ihrec.ie

Visit our website www.ihrec.ie or follow us on twitter and Instagram @_IHREC

Editor’s Note

The WRC ruling in today’s case is available on the WRC website at the following link:

Adjudication Reference: ADJ-00028686 – https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/cases/2022/october/adj-00028686.html

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

Under its legal functions set out in the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014, the Commission can, in certain circumstances, provide legal assistance to a person who wishes to bring a matter of human rights or equality of treatment before the Courts or the Workplace Relations Commission.

Assistance under Section 40 of the Act means any or all of the following

  1. the provision, or the arranging for the provision of, legal advice to the applicant;
  2. the provision, or the arranging for the provision of, legal representation to the applicant
  3. the provision of such other assistance to the applicant as the Commission deems appropriate in the circumstances;

 

 

 

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