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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 20 November, 2018
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Egyptian baggage handler refused job at Dublin Airport by agency after being told he was 'too old and slow'

The man, a naturalised Irish citizen, had held several other manual roles at the airport over the previous nine years.

FILE Runways at Dublin Airport have been temporarily suspended today due to snow END Source: Laura Hutton/Rollingnews.ie

AN EGYPTIAN MAN in his late 50s has been awarded €7,500 at the Workplace Relations Commission after being refused a job at Dublin Airport on grounds of his age.

The man, an Irish citizen and an experienced baggage handler, had applied for the job several years after leaving a similar role at the airport with a glowing reference.

He applied for the latest role via a recruitment agency. It is the agency which has been held liable for discriminating against him.

The man claimed that, at an interview with the agency on 20 January 2015, he was explicitly informed that he was old and therefore not suitable for work as a ramp agent or baggage handler.

He further claimed that, at the same interview, he was told that a previous employer had informed the recruitment agency that the man was “too slow” at the work he was asked to do.

The man was of the belief that he had been unable to secure work for three years as a result of the agency, which handles all such applications for the airport, discriminating against him on grounds of his age and race.

‘Too slow’

He had previously worked in various manual roles at the airport for about nine years.

Seven days after his interview, the man was informed that he had not been successful in his application.

He claimed that, in being accused of being too slow, the agency was behaving completely contrary to a reference it had given him after he left a previous role in October 2011 in which it stated “if given the opportunity, we would re-employ (the man), he was reliable, punctual and an excellent team player”.

He said that the agency, in telling the man he would need clearance from the Egyptian embassy before taking any role, had discriminated against him due to his ethnicity, and stated that such a request was erroneous given he is a naturalised Irish citizen who has lived in Ireland for 14 years.

The recruitment agency for its part denied all the claims, and stated that the man’s version of events was “a complete fabrication”.

It stated that the man had no valid airport ID, and would therefore have to undergo a background vetting check which could take between six and 12 weeks.

It said that it refuted any allegations of discrimination “in the strongest of terms”.

Discrimination

Adjudicating on the matter, equality officer Valerie Murtagh said that she had noted a “conflict of evidence” in that the man had received a glowing reference from a previous employment, yet contrary to this a client of the respondent had allegedly asserted that he was “too slow”.

She said that the man had repeatedly requested documentation from the agency to support the suggestion that he was too slow to no avail.

She went on to state that the man had established a prima facie case of discrimination on grounds of age, in that the assertion that he was too slow had not been backed up in any way.

Likewise, Murtagh said that the agency had discriminated against the man in the same manner in asserting that he would need clearance from the Egyptian embassy, a defence she could not find “credible”.

While she found against the man in his claim that he had been discriminated against because of his race, she nevertheless ordered the agency to pay him €7,500 in compensation for its discrimination against him due to his age.

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