Saturday 23 September 2017

Female warders get €85k in gender bias row

The Midlands Prison in Port Laoise, Co. Laois
The Midlands Prison in Port Laoise, Co. Laois
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

THREE female prison officers have been awarded a combined €85,000 after they successfully made gender discrimination complaints against the country's prison service.

The Irish Prison Service (IPS) has been directed to appoint two of the officers to more senior posts -- with pay backdated more than three years.

The Equality Tribunal also moved to order the IPS to ensure that a "transparent, fair selection process" is adopted in the future filling of posts.

In compensation for the distress suffered due to discrimination, Anne Delaney was awarded €40,000, Monica O'Sullivan Byrne the sum of €25,000, and Julie Madden was awarded €20,000.

All three had applied for an 'allowance carrying' post in the detail office of the Midlands Prison in 2010 but those appointed were junior to them and male.

Ms Delaney made the complaint in 2011 alleging her employer had discriminated against her on gender grounds when she was unsuccessful in her bids for a number of posts to which junior or less experienced male officers were appointed.

POLICY

The prison service argued the policy it was using in terms of job appointments was 'seniority and suitability', and her 'seniority level' led to her being ranked below the successful male candidates.

The tribunal officer found the selection process was "lacking in transparency" and the fact no records were kept led her to make "inferences" regarding the fairness of it.

The Equality Tribunal, which ruled on the most recent claim, ordered she be appointed to the position of acting assistant chief officer -- backdated to August 2010. In addition she was awarded €40,000 in compensation.

Ms O'Sullivan Byrne alleged discrimination after she too applied for a post in the detail office at the Midlands Prison in 2010.

It was claimed her employer turned down her appeal and referred to the fact she was a job sharer.

The prison service stated she was not successful as she had limited experience of working in the detail office.

Ms O'Sullivan Byrne was awarded €25,000.

The tribunal found Ms Madden should be appointed detail officer in the Midlands Prison and it should be backdated to 2010. In addition, it ruled she should receive €20,000.

The IPS stated it was considering the decisions in all three cases.

Irish Independent

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