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Saturday 24 March 2018

Labour Court clears clears Ryanair of discrimination

Ryanair - strong earnings update
Ryanair - strong earnings update

Gordon Deegan

The Labour Court has found that Ryanair did not discriminate on the grounds of nationality when laying off a Polish staff member.

In her claim before the court, Agnieszka Spyra alleged that she was discriminated against on the grounds of her nationality when being laid off by the airline last year.

In culling its workforce for the winter season last year, Ryanair carried out an assessment of its staff by scoring them on a number of headings around their performance. The lowest ranked was an Irish staff member with Ms Spyra ranked second last with the bottom three to lose their jobs.

During the process, Ryanair decided that the Irish person should retain her job and Ms Spyra - who lost her job - claimed that this amounted to prima facie evidence of discriminatory treatment.

In its evidence before the Labour Court, Ryanair argued that the Irish person who retained her job "was a recent recruit and was making progress towards meeting the standards expected of her. It decided that it would be unfair to judge her against standards expected of an experienced worker and for that reason exempted her from selection for lay off".

Ryanair pointed out that two of the lowest-scoring staff - two Poles and one Irish - were laid off. Ryanair argued that as Ms Spyra had worked with Ryanair for a number of years, "it was reasonable to expect that her performance would enable her to score well under the criteria set out in the scheme. However she did not do so and she emerged as the lowest scoring fully trained worker under the scheme".

The airline stated that of the top five scorers appraised under the system four are of Polish nationality and that of the 10 check-in agency workers retained during this period two were Irish and eight were non-Irish.

Irish Independent

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