Case Number: DEC-E2012-031- Full Case Report. Equality Tribunal

Docket NumberDEC-E2012-031- Full Case Report
Date20 March 2012
CourtEquality Tribunal
The Equality Tribunal Employment Equality Acts 2000 to 2011 EQUALITY OFFICER'S DECISION
NO: DEC-E2012-031
Parties Gary Tramba
(Represented by Mr. Michael MacNamee BL on the instructions of Patrick W. Boland Solicitors)
V Riverbank Arts Centre Limited
(Represented by Reidy Stafford Solicitors)
File No. EE/2009/399 Date of Issue: 20 March 2012

Employment Equality Acts - Access to employment - Race - Prima Facie Case

1. Dispute and delegation

1.1 This dispute concerns a complaint by Mr. Gary Tramba (hereafter "the complainant") that he was subjected to discriminatory treatment by Riverbank Theatre Company Limited (hereafter "the respondent") on the ground of his nationality. The complainant maintains that he ought to have been selected for interview in a competition for an 'Arts Centre Venue Manager'. The complainant submitted that the respondent refused, omitted or neglected to properly assess his C.V. and that this refusal omission or neglect arouse because the complainant's theatre specific experience was acquired outside this jurisdiction.

1.2 The complainant referred a claim of discrimination to the Director of the Equality Tribunal on 8 October 2009 under the Employment Equality Acts.
On 17 November 2011 in accordance with his powers under section 75 of the Acts, the Director then delegated the case to Tara Coogan- an Equality Officer - for investigation, hearing and decision and for the exercise of other relevant functions of the Director under Part VII of the Acts on which date my investigation commenced. As required by Section 79(1) and as part of my investigation, I proceeded to hearing on 3 February 2011. A copy of the job advertisement and job description were received on 7 February 2012. A reply from the complainant in relation to the job description was received on 16 March 2012.

2. Case for the complainant

2.1. The complainant is an Austrian national. He has resided in Ireland for a number of years and accumulated management experience from a variety of sectors. Prior to his relocation to Ireland, the complainant has acquired a Diploma in Stage and Light management and had worked as a Stage Manager for 13 years in one of the world's leading theatre companies in Vienna. The complainant received notification that the respondent was recruiting for, inter alia, Arts Centre Venue Manager. As the complainant considered that he had an appropriate background for this role, he sent in his application.

2.2. The complainant, who emphasised that he was not accusing the respondent of racism, maintains that with his experience and qualifications he ought to have been short-listed for interview. The complainant submitted that the reason why had not been called for an interview was because the respondent had failed or omitted to take into consideration his education and experience from Austria.

2.3. The complainant queried why the short-listing for interview process did not contain any consideration for catering related experience as per the job advertisement?

3. Case for the respondent

3.1. The respondent denied that the complainant's nationality had any bearing on the respondent's decision not to call him for interview. It was also denied that the complainant's application had not been properly assessed and/or that the complainant was not afforded recognition for his work experience and qualifications in Austria.

3.2. The respondent relied on Client Logic t/a UCA+L v Kulwant Gill EDA0817. Here the Labour Court acknowledged that the qualifications and criteria which are to be expected of each candidate in filling an employment vacancy is a matter for the employer in every case. It was submitted that unless the complainant can demonstrate manifest irrationality and/or clear evidence of unfairness in the selection process it is not a matter for this Tribunal to look behind the respondent's decision to select another candidate.

3.3. It was submitted that the recruitment of staff with the respondent was based on a clear set of criteria. The respondent had a number of vacancies at the time and the selection criteria for each role had been decided in advance of any assessments. Each applicant was scored in accordance with the C.V. submitted.

3.4. The respondent received 23 applications for the disputed post. Three persons assessed the received applications and C.V.s against predetermined criteria. As it...

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