Case Number: DEC-S2016-011. Workplace Relations Commission

CourtWorkplace Relations Commission
Docket NumberDEC-S2016-011
Date11 February 2016
PartiesAnna Kocot V Liberty Insurance
Equal Status Acts DECISION NO: DEC-S2016-11 Anna Kocot (Represented by Mr Diarmuid Murphy B.L. Instructed by Rostra Solicitors) V Liberty Insurance (Represented by Mr Francis Kiernan B.L. Instructed by Mason Hayes and Curran.) File Nos. ET-154383-es-15 Date of Issue: 11 February 2016

Keywords

Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2011 – Indirect Discrimination, ground of race ,

1 Delegation under the Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2004

1.1 Ms Anna Kocot (the complainant) referred her claim to the Director of the Equality Tribunal under the Equal Status Acts (hereinafter referred to as “the Acts”) on 6th March 2015. On 22nd December 2015, in accordance with his powers under section 75 of the Employment Equality Acts, the Director General of the Workplace Relations Commission referred the case to me, Peter Healy, an Adjudication Officer/Equality Officer, for investigation, hearing and decision and for the exercise of other relevant functions of the Director under Part VII of the Acts. A hearing took place on the 2nd February 2016 at the WRC, Davitt House, Dublin 2.

1.2 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 Dispute

2.1 The dispute concerns claims by the complainant that she was discriminated against by the respondent on ground of race in terms of Sections 3(2) (h), contrary to Section 5 of the Equal Status Act, 2000-2012 relating to a quote for car insurance. The respondent was notified on the 3rd March 2015 in accordance with the provisions of the Acts.

3. Complainant’s submission.

3.1 The complainant submits that she is a Polish national residing in Ireland since 2007, who holds a full Polish driving licence since 2006 valid for category B vehicles.

3.2 The complainant submits that on the 28th February 2015 the respondent provided her through their website with a quote of just over €5,021 for car insurance, taking into account a full EU driving licence. Using the same method the complainant submits she obtained a quote for €3535 if she had a full Irish driving licence. The complainant submits that the difference in quotes seems to be caused solely by the fact that the issuing authority of the driving licence was outside Ireland.

3.3 The complainant submits that the actions by the respondent are an act of at least indirect discrimination. The complainant submits that this Tribunal is required to decide if Section 5(2) of the Acts applies to her complaint in light of various EU Directives and the Test-Achats case (C-236/09) of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

4 SUMMARY OF RESPONDENTS WRITTEN SUBMISSION

4.1 The Respondent rejects the contention that there exists any discrimination at all in the provision of services or products by it on any of the nine grounds set out in the Equal Status Acts 2000-2012. The Respondent submits that it was unaware that the complainant was Polish until she complained that the Equal Status Acts had been breached. The Respondent submits that it does not take into account race, nationality or national or ethnic origins of drivers when pricing its insurance policies. The respondent submits that it does not know the race, nationality, place of birth, skin colour or national origin of its customers, nor does it infer this from any information or data provided to it or which it holds. The Respondent refutes any suggestion that it discriminates on this basis, nor could it do so because it does not have information which would enable it to classify customers or potential customers on this basis.

4.3 It is respectfully submitted by the respondent that I am confined to my statutory jurisdiction under the Equal Status Acts, with no jurisdiction to consider the compatibility of those Acts with EU Directives, much less with, the Charter on Fundamental Rights of the EU or the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (‘TFEU’) as the complainant seeks.

4.4 The Respondent’s submits that a discount in respect of licences issued by the National Driving Licence Authority (‘NDLA’) without penalty points does not put persons “of different … nationality” at a “particular disadvantage”. Their nationality is irrelevant to the applicability or otherwise of the discount. The respondent submits that it is perfectly conceivable that an Irish citizen would not be able to avail of it, but a Polish citizen would. This would occur if the Polish citizen held an NDLA-issued licence and the Irish citizen held a licence issued by another EU or non-EU authority.

4.5 It is not accepted by the Respondent that ‘substantially more’ non-citizens driving in the jurisdiction hold licences issued by another Member State as opposed to an NDLA-issued licence, and absolutely no evidence to such effect has been adduced, nor are there any grounds for assuming this to be the case.

4.6 The respondent submits that while non-Irish nationals are not subject to a “particular disadvantage” within the meaning of section 3(1)(c), because there are no barriers preventing a non-Irish national from obtaining a NDLA licence. The respondent submits that nationals of other EU Member states, such as the Claimant, can apply to exchange their EU-issued licences for an Irish one simply by filling out NDLS Form D401. The respondent submits that this process is not onerous.

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