Discrimination case highlights duties of agency workers

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The Commission des relations au travail confirmed the complaint of the temporary worker in which she alleged that the recruiting officer had treated her less favorably because of her gender.

The worker, who was on the recruiting agent’s register as a temp, was informed of an upcoming 23-month contract by the agent and subsequently shared her updated CV so that her name is proposed for the position. However, five days later, the worker informed the agent of her pregnancy. On the same day, the agent responded with an email stating: “Regarding the position, this is a 23 month contract. We can offer you shorter positions until May.”

The recruiting agent argued that he did not nominate the agency worker for the job because he determined, after reviewing the worker’s job description and CV, that the worker did not have three of the four skills or abilities and experience required for the position. He denied that he had discriminated against by not proposing the worker for the 23-month position. To support his thesis, the recruiting officer shared a chart that indicated that he had allowed pregnant applicants to get work eight times.

The arbitration officer reviewing the case concluded that the worker’s evidence established a case of “prima facie” discrimination and that the burden of proof therefore shifted to the officer to prove that the The alleged discriminatory act was not caused by the announcement of the worker’s pregnancy. However, the arbitration officer did not accept the reasons given by the recruiting officer for not proposing the worker for the position and concluded that the officer had discriminated against the worker on the basis of sex.

“Discrimination on the basis of sex is prohibited by equal employment legislation,” said Jason McMenamin, Dublin-based labor law expert of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law . “The legislation not only applies to employees, but also extends to potential employees and agency workers. The award in this case underscores how seriously these cases are taken by the Workplace Relations Commission. Employers should ensure that they have an equality policy in place and that all staff receive training on the policy to reduce the risk of such claims. ”


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