A PRISON OFFICER who had fought cancer was awarded €80,000 after being denied the chance to interview for a promotion.
The Irish Prison Service was directed by the Equality Tribunal to pay the man €33,000 for what it deemed “discriminatory treatment” and a further €47,000 for what it called “victimisation”.
The man, who had been a prison officer since 1998, had applied for the position on Assistant Chief Officer in an unnamed prison in June 2010. However, the complainant was told in August that his application was unsuccessful.
The man had been stationed in the medical unit at the prison after returning from sick leave. He had been receiving treatment on a malignant melanoma and had asked to be put in a unit that did not require climbing stairs.
He said that a Deputy Governor had expressed surprise that he had applied to work with the ‘dinosaurs’ in the medical unit, adding that the complainant was ‘no spring chicken’.
He claimed that he was made forfeit three hours of leave after phoning in sick following a cancer treatment.
The complainant claimed that the decision to exclude him from that panel and subsequent roles was made because of his medical condition and his age.
The Equality Tribunal found that the Prison Service had discriminated against the man on the grounds of his age and disability. They found that he had also been victimised by his employers.
The tribunal also found that the Prison Services’ selection process for the acting up panel was “clearly deficient and did not comply with equality legislation” and ordered that a “transparent, fair selection process” in future.