Case Number: DEC-E2012-030- Full Case Report. Equality Tribunal

CourtEquality Tribunal
Date01 March 2012
Docket NumberDEC-E2012-030- Full Case Report
The Equality Tribunal

Employment Equality Acts

Decision DEC-E2012-030


Brenda McMenamy
(Represented by James Doran, B.L.,
instructed by Frank Ward & Co, solicitors)

- V -

Dublin Airport Authority
(Represented by Byrne Wallace Solicitors)

File reference: EE/2008/801
Date of issue: 13 March 2012

Keywords - Employment Equality Acts - Discriminatory Treatment - Harassment - Victimisation - Gender - Civil Status - Family Status - Prima facie case


1.1 This dispute concerns a claim by Ms Brenda McMenamy that she was subjected to discriminatory treatment, harassment and victimisation by the respondent on the grounds of Gender, Civil Status and Family Status in terms of Sections 6(2), 14 and 74 of the Employment Equality Acts (hereafter referred to as 'the Acts'), and contrary to section 8 of those Acts.

1.2 The complainant referred a claim of discrimination to the Director of the Equality Tribunal on 20 November 2008 under the Acts. On 6 May 2011, in accordance with his powers under section 75 of the Acts, the Director then delegated the case to Conor Stokes - 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. Submissions were sought and received from the parties. As required by Section 79(1) and as part of my investigation, I proceeded to hearing on 1 September 2011. Additional written information was received from both parties up to 17 January 2012. All written and oral evidence presented to the Tribunal has been taken into consideration when coming to this decision.


2.1 The complainant commenced work on 21 October 1991 with what was then Aer Rianta as an Airport Police and Fire Officer (APF). Initially she started in police service and two years later trained in the fire service. She worked as a rotator - a person who carries out both the police duties and the fire officer duties. Her employment continued with the establishment of the Dublin Airport Authority.

2.2 The complainant was employed in the fire service when she became pregnant in 1994. She was required to leave the fire service and transfer to police duties which she did reluctantly. She was aggrieved and believed that she had no option but to do so.

2.3 The complainant submitted that she was one of the first APF's to take up job sharing in the police service and its job sharing scheme has run successfully. Over the years, the complainant has, through her union, had numerous meetings with the company over the implementation of job sharing in the fire service where she has been refused job-sharing on numerous occasions. The main arguments for the refusal for the application were that a job sharer would not be in the fire station often enough for training and also that manning levels would be affected.

2.4 The complainant submitted that she brought her grievances to the union again in 2005 and a claim was submitted to the LRC regarding the non introduction of job-sharing for members working in the Airport Police/Fire station. The union were asked to drop the complaint on the basis that the issue would be resolved locally. As a result the respondent suggested to the union that they would introduce job sharing but would exclude rotators.

2.5 The complainant submitted that she decided to apply to go back working as a permanent whole time worker in the fire service in or about January 2006 as it became clear to her that this was the only way to get back into the fire service. She was told that she would have to do the full 12 week training course again. The complainant submitted that previously a male colleague was allowed to return from a job sharing position with the full requirement of training that was required from her. In that case all that was required was a one week refresher course on the use of breathing apparatus.

2.6 The complainant brought this to the attention of the Senior Airside Manager in June 2006 and in response he stated that because she had changed her preference from rotator to permanent fire officer, under the existing union agreement, it had the effect of dropping her to the bottom of the list. The complainant also asked the Senior Airside Manager to address the discrimination as between her return to a full time position vis-à-vis her male colleague. This was not addressed in her replying letter.

2.7. On 12 June 2008 the complainant again wrote to the Chief Fire Officer seeking job sharing in the Fire Station. By letter dated 27 June 2008, the CFO refused this request and the complainant formally entered her complaint to the Tribunal dated 25 November 2008.

2.8 In January 2009, a male colleague phoned the complainant to state that he had met the CFO and requested a job sharing position in the fire station. The CFO did not contact the complainant until mid February 2009 stating that, she would have to undergo the 12 week course starting in March and that if she wished to take up the offer of job-sharing she would have to let him know by 4 March 2009. This gave her only two weeks to find a full-time carer for her...

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