Questions on Job Application Form Lead to Award for Discrimination

Background to the Case

In this case, the complainant was asked about matters relating to his age on his registration form by the respondent company, a sales recruitment firm.

At the initial meeting with the respondent, the complainant pointed out that a lot of requested information was “irrelevant and invasive”. Questions such as “living with parents/renting/mortgaged accommodation”, “number of children”, “age” and “date of birth”.
The Equality Officer was dismissive of the value of an Equal Opportunities Policy clearly devised for use in the UK. Ordering that the respondent draft a policy relevant to this jurisdiction she stated:
“The respondent made available a copy of its Equal Opportunities Policy and I am not satisfied as to the adequacy of the policy which refers only to UK legislation and does not appear to have been drawn up for this jurisdiction. I shall therefore be referring to this matter in my order for redress.”

Equality Officer Finds Discrimination Did Occur

Paragraph 5.8 explains the main finding of the Equality Officer and reads as follows:
“The respondent sought the complainant’s date of birth and age on the registration form.
He refused to provide his date of birth and gave an incorrect age and the respondent pursued the matter with him a few days later.
I note the respondent’s statement that it would have had no reservations in representing the complainant given his strong sales background had he not been evasive and uncooperative in providing the information in relation to his age followed by deliberately providing incorrect information.
It therefore appears to be the case that as the complainant was reluctant to provide the information and then provided an incorrect age, his application to register with the respondent was not progressed.
In this case, on the basis that the respondent sought the complainant’s age and date of birth on the registration form and subsequently pursued the matter with him, I find that the complainant has established a prima facie case of discrimination on the age ground in relation to the respondent’s refusal to represent him in respect of sales opportunities with clients”.

Consequently, the Equality Officer awarded the complainant €5,000 for discrimination on the age ground.

Case: Cunningham v BMS Sales Ltd, Equality Tribunal, 2007

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