Equality Officer Awards €40,000 to Anne Delaney in response to complaint made against the Irish Prison Service.

Anne Delaney took a case against the Irish Prison Service because of gender discrimination by her employer on the grounds of gender in relation to promotion, training and conditions of employment.

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In 2011, Ms. Delaney referred a complaint against her employer under the Employment Equality Acts 1998 to 2008 to the Equality Tribunal. She alleged that the Irish Prison Service discriminated against her on grounds of gender when she applied for numerous posts over several years. Junior or less suitable/less experienced male candidates were appointed to the roles ahead of Ms. Delaney on all occasions.

After reviewing all of the submitted evidence, the Equality Officer was satisfied that the complainant, Ms. Delaney, had established a link between the incidents that she complained about. The Equality Officer considered the incidents as separate manifestations of the same disposition to discriminate. The Equality Officer criticised the lack of transparency stating that she was unsure of the fairness of the selection procedures that were followed. There were no marking schemes available for review and no records to help her to assess what grounds the hiring decisions were based on. It also became apparent that the same senior personnel were involved in the selection process for all posts.

The Equality Officer’s investigation of the complaint concluded that the Irish Prison Service discriminated against Ms. Delaney on gender grounds when she applied for a gym instructor course in 2001, when she applied for an Operational Support Group post in 2009, when she was asked to step down from the post of Acting ACO in August 2010 and again in September 2010 when she applied for an allowance carrying post in the Detail Office.

As a result of her findings the Equality Officer tasked with making the decision on the case ordered that Ms. Delaney be appointed to the position of Acting ACO, and placed on the permanent roster for that position. The Equality Officer backdated this appointment to the 5th of August 2010 and ensured that all consequential employment rights and entitlements, including remuneration and recognition of service, were upheld.

The Equality Officer found that Ms. Delaney had been subjected to discrimination on the grounds of her gender on numerous occasions during her career with the Irish Prison Service. The Equality Officer considered a compensatory award of €40,000 to be just and equitable in response to the distress suffered by Ms. Delaney as a result of the discrimination that she suffered. The Equality Officer felt as though €40,000 was a proportionate, effective and dissuasive sum to award. That component of the award was not in the form of remuneration and, consequently, was not subject to the PAYE/PRSI Code.

The Equality Officer found that the Irish Prison Service’s selection process for the allowance carrying post in the Detail Office (a post applied for by Ms. Delaney in September 2010) was deficient and non-compliant with Equality Legislation. The Equality Officer ordered that the Irish Prison Service ensure that a fair selection process be adopted in all future selections. She also ordered that the selection panel must be trained in the process and that it must set down the criteria in writing before embarking on the selection process. The Equality Officer also ordered that a marking scheme must be adopted and that the weighting should be given under each element. She also directed that notes must be retained for future reference.

DEC-E2013-155

DECISION NO: DEC-E/2013/155

Anne Delaney Vs Irish Prison Service

FILE NO: EE/2011/292

DATE OF ISSUE: 19th of November, 2013

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