Settlement of hearing Disability Claim

The Equality Authority and Iarnród Eireann welcome the settlement of one of the first hearing disability claims brought under the Employment Equality Act, 1998. Mr Tom Shanahan who is deaf applied to Iarnród Eireann for the job of body worker. He failed a medical test on account of his deafness. He then brought a claim under the Employment Equality Act, 1998 to the Office of the Director of Equality Investigations alleging that he had been discriminated against on grounds of his disability .He was represented by the Equality Authority and supported by the Irish Deaf Society .Both parties are very happy with the outcome of the case. Iarnód Eireann already have a number of deaf employees.

In the light of the settlement Niall Crowley, Chief Executive of the Equality Authority stated that the settlement will have a beneficial impact on the wider community of deaf people. He highlighted the need for employers to address the challenge to organise their workplace to accommodate people with disabilities. “Other employers need to ensure that decisions are not made on the basis of negative and inaccurate assumptions about the ability of deaf people to contribute fully in the workplace. Limited understandings of accessibility and of how the workplace can be made safe for all need to be changed”.