Commission Legally Assists Young Person in Disability Rights Claim

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (“the Commission”) has provided legal assistance to a young person with a disability in a discrimination claim under the Equal Status Acts.

The complainant is a 16 year old boy with a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. He has developed strategies and adaptation skills to support him when carrying out daily tasks and often wears a hood to help with sensory sensitivities when in public. While visiting Dublin with his father, he entered a well-known store in the city centre and wore his hood up to manage his sensory exposure in the shop environment.

On entering, the complainant was approached by a member of staff who told him to take his hood down. The complainant’s father informed the staff member that his son had a disability that required the wearing of a hood but was nevertheless asked to leave the premises. Despite informing the store staff that their behaviour was discriminatory, the complainant and his father were escorted from the shop, leaving them feeling embarrassed and upset.

The complainant subsequently referred a complaint of discrimination on the ground of disability to the Workplace Relations Commission (‘the WRC’). With legal assistance from the Commission, that complaint has now been settled on terms satisfactory to both parties.

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

“A one-size-fits-all store policy clearly places vulnerable people at a disadvantage, especially those with a disability. This is particularly the case where there is no attempt to provide reasonable accommodation for the service user.

Not all disabilities are visible. This case demonstrates the importance of taking a human rights and equality approach towards the development of policies so that all customers can be accommodated for in their full diversity.

I am delighted that the young person in this case has reached a settlement that he is happy with and wish him well in his future.”


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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