Case Number: DEC-E2016-041. Workplace Relations Commission

CourtWorkplace Relations Commission
Date04 March 2016
Docket NumberDEC-E2016-041
PartiesTomás Horgan and Claire Keegan -V- Department of Education and Skills, Department of Finance, Department of Public Expenditure & Reform, Government of Ireland, Ireland, Attorney General
EMPLOYMENT EQUALITY ACTS DECISION NO. DEC-E2016-041 PARTIES Tomás Horgan and Claire Keegan (Represented by Peter Ward S.C. and Eilis Barry B.L., instructed by Hayes Solicitors) AND Department of Education and Skills, Department of Finance, Department of Public Expenditure & Reform, Government of Ireland, Ireland, Attorney General (Represented by Brian Kennedy S.C. and Nap Keeling B.L., instructed by Chief State Solicitor’s Office) File references: EE/2012/069, 077, 081, 164, 169, 405, 111, 113, 114, 167, 172 & 408 Date of issue: 4 March 2016

HEADNOTES: Employment Equality Acts - Sections 6 and 8 - Age – Equal Pay

1. DISPUTE

1.1 This dispute concerns claims by Tomás Horgan and Claire Keegan that they were discriminated against by the Department of Education and Skills, the Department of Finance, the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform, the Government of Ireland, Ireland and the Attorney General on the grounds of age contrary to section 6 (2) (f) of the Employment Equality Acts in relation to conditions of employment and that that they perform “like work”, in terms of section 7 of the Employment Equality Acts with a named comparator and are entitled to equal remuneration in accordance with section 29 of the Employment Equality Acts.

1.2 The complainants referred claims against the six respondents to the Director of the Equality Tribunal on 31 January 2012, 9 February 2012 and 27 July 2012 under the Employment Equality Acts. On 3 July 2014, in accordance with his powers under section 75 of the Acts, the Director delegated the cases to me, Hugh Lonsdale, 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 received from both sides. In accordance with Section 79 (1) of the Acts and as part of my investigation I proceeded to a hearing on 26 November 2014. At the start of the hearing the complainant withdrew their claim in relation to conditions of employment. Final information was received on 15 January 2015.

1.3 This decision is issued by me following the establishment of the Workplace Relations Commission on 1 October 2015, as an Adjudication Officer who was an Equality Officer prior to 1 October 2015, in accordance with section 83 (3) of the Workplace Relations Act 2015.

2. SUMMARY OF THE COMPLAINANTS’ CASE

2.1 Mr Horgan was appointed to start work as a teacher in St Josephs Convent National School from 3 October 2011 at the age of 22.

2.2 Ms Keegan was appointed to start work as a teacher from 11 October 2001 at the age of 23.

2.2 Both complainants were appointed to the first point of a new scale for teachers which had been brought in from 1 January 2011. This scale had been reduced by 10% from the previous scale for teachers. Also, before 1 January 2011 all teachers appointed in a similar position had started on, at least, the second point of the scale.

2.2 The complainants submit that their appointments were discriminatory as the changes effective from 1 January 2011 particularly affected younger teachers. They claim that they suffered direct and indirect discrimination in respect of remuneration. They name “all teachers who gave service as teachers in state-funded schools prior to 1 January 2011”, and they named a specific comparator.

2.3 The complainants submit that the appropriate respondents are those who have responsibility for pay and cite section 77 (4) of the Employment Equality Acts which defines the respondent inter alia as the person: “who is alleged to have discriminated against the complainant or, as the case may be, who is responsible for providing the remuneration to which the remuneration term relates”. They are paid by the Department of Education and Skills but the other respondents all have various responsibilities in relation to their remuneration. They also submit that Circulars 18/2010 (issued by the Department of Finance) and 00/40/2011 (issued by the Department of Education and Skills and deals with the Teachers’ Common basic Scale), which brought in the revised pay scales, amounted to the issuing of an instruction to discriminate, which amounts to discrimination in accordance with in accordance with section 2 of the Employment Equality Acts.

2.4 The complainants submit that in 2011 there were 1,827 new teachers. In 2012 there were 1019 in the 20-23 age bracket and 234 were aged 24-25. This means that 68.8% of new starts were under 26 and over 55% under 24.

2.5 The complainants submit that their allegations are covered within the Employment Equality Acts and that the Acts do not contain a defence to such a claim for discrimination by allowing for objective and reasonable justification.

3. SUMMARY OF THE RESPONDENT'S CASE

3.1 The respondents submit they are not the correct respondents. The correct respondents are the Board of Management where the complainants were working at the time they referred these claims.

3.2 Without prejudice to this the respondents submit that as part...

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