Win in Employment Discrimination Case for Dismissal Based on Dyspraxia

Commission Provided Legal Representation to Man in His Case Against Sky Handling Partner Ltd.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (‘the Commission’) has today welcomed the decision by the Workplace Relations Commission (“the WRC”) in the case of a man  who successfully challenged his dismissal from employment with Sky Handling Partner Ltd because he experienced discrimination on the grounds of his disability.

Mr. Stephen Dunne was dismissed from his work specifically due to his dyspraxia, and in its final adjudication the WRC ordered that Sky Handling Partner Ltd. must conduct a review of its procedures in relation to employment policies and practices to ensure compliance with the Employment Equality Acts, and the WRC ordered that Mr. Dunne be paid €15,000 in compensation, the equivalent of 18 months’ pay.

Using its statutory powers, the Commission  represented  Mr. Dunne in bringing his case to the WRC.

Mr. Dunne challenged what he saw as a breach of the Employment Equality Acts, when he was dismissed without formal explanation only a month into his employment as an Aircraft Service Agent for the company in April 2018.

The decision to dismiss Mr. Dunne related specifically to the company’s reaction to his dyspraxia. The Company took the decision to dismiss Mr. Dunne was informed by what was described as a “google search” on dyspraxia carried out by the company’s Health and Safety Officer.

Based on that “google search” the Health and Safety Officer stated that Mr. Dunne would not be able to complete necessary driver training for the role due to his disability. Mr. Dunne stated at the hearing that he holds a full driver licence and drives all the time without issue.

Adjudication Officer Valerie Murtagh stated in her final adjudication: “It is quite astonishing, in my opinion that Mr. B (the Health and Safety Officer) compiled a report on the complainant without ever having met him or obtaining expert independent advice on the specifics of the complainant’s condition”

In its final adjudication the WRC found that the company had failed to provide Mr. Dunne with reasonable accommodation related to his disability and found that he was discriminatorily dismissed on the grounds of his disability.

Mr Dunne, who brought the case, welcomed the outcome:

“I feel happy with the outcome, I was just very disappointed with the company after the way they handled my employment. I want to thank, the Commission, my solicitor and the barrister for taking my case.”

Emily Logan Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission stated:

“The Commission welcomes this positive outcome for Mr. Dunne following our legal representation  for him in bringing his case before the WRC. This case illustrates the devastating effect of discrimination in employment for people with disabilities.

Employers must take their legal obligations to prohibit discrimination seriously, this includes  providing reasonable measures to accommodate those needs during recruitment and in the workplace.”

“People with disabilities, like all employees, are today contributing significantly through their qualifications, skills and  expertise to Irish workplaces, barriers must not be put in the way of that contribution.”



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Brian Dawson, IHREC Communications Manager,

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Notes to Editor

The full decision of the Adjudication Officer in this case is available at the following link:

The 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.

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;