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€24,000 for man forced to reduce hours and then retire at 66

The Equality Tribunal awarded €123,000 last month.

Image: Hanging up the gloves via Shutterstock / Viktor Gladkov

NOVEMBER WAS A bumper month for the Equality Tribunal which awarded four plaintiffs a total of €123,000.

Included in that sum was the €70,000 paid to botanist Micheline Sheehy Skeffington by NUI Galway for discriminating against her because of her gender.

In the much-publicised case, the Tribunal found the promotion and hiring processes were completely flawed and ordered for her to be promoted immediately.

Sheehy Skeffington’s case was one of four upheld in November by the Tribunal.

The next largest award, of €24,000, was made in a case brought by Richard Lett against Earagail Eisc Teoranta (trading as Errigal Seafood).

The Tribunal found that the employee was discriminated against on age grounds by being forced to retire at the age of 66. He was also “forced to work part time prior to that retirement”.

The compensation was paid for his discriminatory dismissal and for his treatment “in respect of reducing his hours from a five-day week to a three-day week”.

The amount was awarded for the distress experienced by Mr Lett.

Two more cases – against Tesco Ireland and Rottapharm Ltd – were also upheld. Tesco was ordered to pay €9,000 to an employee for the distress suffered because of discriminatory treatment,

Rottapharm Ltd has to pay €20,000 for unlawfully discriminating against Beata Nowakowska because of her pregnancy.*

Cases against Ballincollig Community School, Fitness Works, An Garda Síochána and Dawn Farm Foods were dismissed.

Equality at NUI Galway

As a result of Sheehy Skeffington’s case, Siptu’s academic staff at NUI Galway will vote on a proposal to call for an external body to carry out a comprehensive audit to ensure gender equality is practised at the institute next month.

The Academic Staff Stewards committee said: “Our members have taken note of the recent decision of the Equality Tribunal with regard to Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington’s application for promotion to Senior Lecturer at NUI Galway in 2009.

“They have also noted the results of the recent Higher Education Authority (HEA) Survey on gender balance in the third level sector in Ireland and the poor position of NUI Galway with respect to this.

“We are urging the Governing Body of the university to engage fully and openly with all relevant NUI Galway stakeholders and its alumni, in order to ensure that this unacceptable state of affairs is rectified within an acceptable timeframe.”

*Clarification: An earlier version of this story erroneously referred to Noel Recruitment as the firm which had to pay complainant Beata Nowakowska €20,000. The Equality Tribunal found that Noel Recruitment had no role in the complaint and did not discriminate against their employee. It was Rottapharm Limited which was ordered to pay the complainant €20,000. We apologise for this error and are happy to correct the record.

Read: University ordered to pay €70k to lecturer passed over for promotion

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