Case Number: ADJ-00000038. Workplace Relations Commission

CourtWorkplace Relations Commission
Docket NumberADJ-00000038
Date23 March 2016
PartiesA Credit Union Customer -v- A Credit Union

Adjudication Decision Reference: ADJ-00000038

Complaint(s)/Dispute(s) for Resolution:


Complaint/Dispute Reference No.

Date of Receipt

Complaint seeking adjudication by the Workplace Relations Commission under Section 21 Equal Status Act, 2000



Date of Adjudication Hearing: 08/01/2016

Workplace Relations Commission Adjudication Officer: Marguerite Buckley


In accordance with Section 41(4) of the Workplace Relations Act, 2015 and Section 25 of the Equal Status Act, 2000 following the referral of the complaint(s)/dispute(s) to me by the Director General, I inquired into the complaint(s)/dispute(s) and gave the parties an opportunity to be heard by me and to present to me any evidence relevant to the complaint(s)/dispute(s).

Complainant’s Submission and Presentation:

The Complainant gave evidence that on the 20th of May 2015 he attended at the Credit Union to make an appointment to apply for a loan to buy a car. He had previously borrowed a sum of money from the Credit Union which he had paid back in full. The complainant’s evidence was that he met a staff member at the reception counter whose name was unknown to him. He explained the purposes of his visit to her and she asked him to provide six months of bank statements as part of his loan application. When he queried the requirement to provide six months bank statements and that only three months were required as per the Credit Union website, the unidentified staff member confirmed that six months statements were required.

The Complainant made an appointment with the loans officer with the Credit Union for the 27th of May 2015 and brought to that meeting six months of bank statements as requested.

The Complainant’s evidence was that he was requested to provide six months of bank statements and he provided six months bank statements. This request the Complainant alleges was an act of discrimination pursuant to Section 3(2) (h) Equal Status Act 2000 on the grounds of his nationality. He said that his wife is Polish and she did not have to provide six months of bank statements as part of her loan application in the past.

Respondent’s Submission and Presentation:

The Respondent made a preliminary application as regards the ES.1 Form and failure to serve it in accordance with Section 21 (2) of the Equal Status Act 2000 as amended.

Section 21 (2) sets out:

Before seeking redress under this section the complainant—

(a) shall, within 2 months after the prohibited conducted is alleged to have occurred, or, where more than one incident of prohibited conduct is alleged to have occurred, within 2 months after the last such occurrence, notify the respondent in writing of—

(i) the nature of the allegation

(ii) the complainant's intention, if not satisfied with the respondent's response to the allegation, to seek redress under this Act, and

(b) may in that notification, with a view to assisting the complainant in deciding whether to refer the case to the Director………………., question the respondent in writing so as to obtain material information and the respondent may, if the respondent so wishes, reply to any such questions.

Section 21 (4): The Director …………..shall not investigate a case unless the Director is satisfied either that the respondent has replied to the notification or that at least one month has elapsed after it was sent to the respondent.

The Respondent’s submission is that compliance with this Section has not been made by the Complainant. It was noted that the Complainant did not use the E.S.1 form. The Claimant sent an email to the Respondent through its website and relied on this email as compliance with Section 21 (2) (a) of the Equal Status Act 2000 (as amended).

The email was dated the 17th of June 2015 and was sent at 6.02pm.

The content of the email was as follows:

Subject: “Speedy Decision”?

Details: Hello ….. Credit Union, I am a graduate of legal studies and I have been trained to recognise signs of inequality any and everywhere. ….. CU prides itself in swift decisions and making within a week, but apparently not in my case which has been pending since May 27, 2015. Your website askes for a 3-month bank statement but I was asked to provide for six months which I did. I don’t owe any debt anywhere and I wonder why I would ask for any loan if I couldn’t be confident of paying back same. As a shareholder and a member I think I deserve “speedy decision” and equal treatment as any other member. Kind regards The Complainant

It was agreed by the parties that part of section 21 (2) (a) (i) of the Equal Status Act 2000 (as amended) has been complied with as the nature of the allegation was set out in the email. However the Respondent argued that Section 21(2) (a) (i) had not been complied with. The Respondent argued that it was required by Section 21 (2) (a) (ii) to indicate the Complainant’s intention if not satisfied with the Respondent’s response to the allegations to seek redress under the Act.

Oral evidence was given by the Manager of the Credit Union that the Complainant was spoken with on the 23rd of June 2015 by LD, and apology given as regards the delay with processing his loan application. The reason for the delay was that his application form had been filed incorrectly and not brought to a credit committee meeting. The Manager gave evidence that the Respondent had no inkling that the complainant was not satisfied with their response until they received correspondence from Workplace Relations Commission.

The Complainant argued that there is no requirement on him to use the Form ES.1 to notify the Respondent of his complaint. He argued that he had sent notification of his complaint within the required time frame. He referred to provisions of the Code of Practice of Financial Services Provider and that he was not given the name of a person to contact. The Complainant also advised that he followed up with a letter dated the 23rd of June 2015.

This letter of the 23rd of June 2015 was read into evidence. It did not make any reference to the requirements of Section 21 (2) (a) (i) or (ii). It was the Complainants explanation as to why the approved loan of €5,000.00 would not meet his needs and requested the Respondent to approve his requested €10,000.00 loan.

The complainant made an application under Section 21(3) (a) (ii) of the Equal Status Act (as amended) that on an exceptional basis it was fair and reasonable in the circumstances of the case for me to direct that subsection 2 of Section 21 should not apply. The Complainant was not in a position to give a reason as to neither why the exception to the rule should be applied nor why it should be fair and reasonable.

The Respondent’s case was that the Complainant in any event only submitted three months bank statements. They put into evidence the loan application file. This comprised a pre-printed checklist which set out the requirement to provide three payslips/social welfare slips/P60 and three months primary bank account statements. The answer written in hand on this pre-printed form, in the box provided was “attached”.

The bank statement provided was in the name of the Complainant. The statement date was the 22nd of April 2015. The page numbering of the statement was Page 1 of 8. The start date on page 1 was the 5th of February 2015. The end date on page 8 of 8 was the 22nd of April 2015. Three payslips/social welfare slips were also attached to the loan application.

The Respondent’s case is that despite...

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