Manager awarded €30k compensation

A JAPANESE-owned English language school has been ordered to pay one of its managers compensation of €30,000 and to increase her salary in line with that of a male counterpart.

The school, trading as GEOS Ireland, was found to have discriminated against Nerea Medrano on a number of grounds, including gender and family status.

The company that runs the Dublin-based school was also found to have harassed Ms Medrano on grounds of gender and family status and for this she was awarded €30,000 in compensation.

GEOS Ireland also breached the Employment Equality Acts by paying Ms Medrano less than a male counterpart. The tribunal ordered that her salary be increased to €48,000, backdated to October 2008, until the date of her leaving the company’s employment in May 2010.

In her claim, Ms Medrano stated that in the course of a video conference with ‘Mr K’, the company’s chief executive who was located in Japan, she was blamed for the Dublin office’s poor trading in 2007 even though she had been on maternity leave from June 15, 2007, until January 7, 2008.

Mr K blamed her for the poor performance, saying that “the figures didn’t lie” and described her as the “weakest manager of the European region”.

She said from a cultural perspective it was not permissible to interrupt Mr K when he was speaking and she was not given the opportunity to express her views subsequently.

The case was one of 23 employment equality and equal status cases decided upon by the tribunal last month and published yesterday. Only four of 17 employment equality complaints were upheld, in full or in part, whereas the majority of equal status complaints were upheld.

Another employment equality case involved a claim by Olafemi Ola Samuel, a black Nigerian national, who claimed he suffered a discriminatory dismissal by Alliance Nursing Agency, an employment agency that provides medical professionals to hospitals and other institutions providing care to the sick and elderly.

In her report, equality officer Vivian Jackson said the agency failed to engage with the tribunal in the course of her investigation. She ordered that the agency pay Mr Samuel €25,000 by way of compensation for the distress suffered by him as a result of the discrimination.

A senior radio producer was awarded €40,000 compensation for discrimination on the grounds of disability against her un-named employer.

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