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A client of the FLAC Traveller Legal Service receives the maximum award in a discrimination case taken against a wedding venue.

24 January 2021

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A client of the FLAC Traveller Legal Service receives the maximum award in a discrimination case taken against a wedding venue.

In a clear message to both the Traveller and the Business communities, a woman was, this month, awarded the maximum compensation allowed in a case adjudicated by the Workplace Relations Commission under the Equal Status Acts, 2000-2018.

In a decision to be published by the Workplace Relations Commission today, in what is considered a very significant outcome by Human Rights Organisation, FLAC, the Workplace Relations Commission found in favour of a Traveller woman when she was discriminated against by a Hotel wedding venue. The Traveller Legal Service provided advice and prepared written submissions for the woman who was awarded the maximum possible compensation.

The Hotel in question was shown to be responsive to the woman’s initial email enquiries regarding a booking for her wedding until such time as it was established that she was a Traveller, at this point the Hotel adopted a dismissive attitude towards the woman and ceased engaging with her enquiries, preventing her from making a booking.

The woman who received the award said of the result “It is a very satisfying feeling, that we as Irish Travellers do matter, and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity as is a human right afforded to all citizens of Ireland.”

Speaking about the outcome, Christopher McCann, Solicitor with FLAC’s dedicated Traveller Legal Service said, ‘We are very pleased with the outcome. Our client was subjected to humiliating treatment by the hotel in question. This decision demonstrates that those engaging in commercial life stand to be penalized if they deny their goods or services to Travellers.’

According to Eilis Barry, FLAC CEO said, ‘What we at FLAC witness through our dedicated Traveller Legal Service is that many Travellers experience great difficulties when it comes to booking venues to celebrate the important events of their lives like weddings, holy communions and funerals. The decision by the WRC today shows that this kind of practice, which essentially amounts to a kind of social apartheid, will not be tolerated.’

Ms Barry added that ‘FLAC will be writing to IHREC to suggest the need for a code of practice in relation to access to pubs, hotels and restaurants.’

/ENDS

Notes

  1. FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) is an Irish human rights organisation, which exists to promote equal access to justice. As an NGO, FLAC relies on a combination of statutory funding, contributions from the legal professions and donations from individuals and grant-making foundations to support its work.
  1. FLAC offers basic legal information through its telephone information line (1890 350 250). Free legal advice is available from volunteer lawyers through a countrywide network of advice clinics (these clinics are currently conducted over the phone) – more at www.flac.ie/help/.  FLAC provides legal advice directly to members of both the Roma Community and The Irish Traveller Community via specialist legal clinics. FLAC also campaigns on a range of issues including consumer credit, personal debt, and fairness in social welfare law, public interest law and civil legal aid.
  1. You can read more about the FLAC dedicated Traveller Legal Service which was launched in July 2020 here https://www.flac.ie/news/2020/07/27/flac-to-launch-only-dedicated-traveller-legal-serv/ and you can read more about recent cases taken by the Traveller Service which are highlighted in the latest post in Flac’s blog, ‘The Flac Casebook’ here https://www.flac.ie/blog/traveller-legal-service-update-on-recent-cases/
  1. You can read the anonymised decision of the WRC at https://www.workplacerelations.ie/
  1. The complaint was brought under Equal Status Acts 2000-2018.
    http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2000/act/8/enacted/en/html?q=equal+status+act

 

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