€15k prison job discrimination award

€15k prison job discrimination award
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The Irish Prison Service (IPS) has been ordered to pay a prison officer €15,000 compensation for discriminating against her.

In the case before the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), adjudication officer Gaye Cunningham found the IPS discriminated against Louise Kinsella after failing to inform her of a promotional opportunity while she was on maternity leave.

It is the second payout the WRC has ordered against the IPS in recent days concerning successful gender discrimination claims.

Previously, the WRC ordered the IPS to pay Valerie Smollen €20,000 after finding she was discriminated against when she was removed from a roster for high-ranking prison officers because she is a woman.

Ms Kinsella has been employed as a prison officer since 2002 and commenced maternity leave in February 2017. On her return to work, which also included a period of accrued annual leave, Ms Kinsella found out that three promotional competitions had been advertised internally and she had not been notified of them. 

The notifications were sent by email to all staff but Ms Kinsella had no access to the IPS internal email system while on leave. On March 8, 2018, the IPS admitted Ms Kinsella had not been advised of a number of promotional opportunities. 

In her findings, Ms Cunningham found Ms Kinsella was discriminated against on the gender ground in relation to the post that was advertised in April 2017 as this occurred during her maternity leave.

Ms Cunningham also ordered the IPS ensure staff on maternity leave are notified of future promotional opportunities.

Ms Cunningham ordered the IPS to pay Ms Kinsella €15,000 by way of compensation for the distress suffered by her as a result of the discrimination.

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