Indian nurse alleges racial discrimination after being passed over for promotion 11 times

Indian nurse alleges racial discrimination after being passed over for promotion 11 times
A generic hospital scene involving doctors and nurses

By Ann O'Loughlin

An Indian nurse at Beaumont Hospital who alleged racial discrimination after being passed over for promotion eleven times has brought a legal challenge over the dismissal of her complaint.

The High Court judicial review proceedings by Somy Thomas, of Artane, Dublin, arise from a determination of the Workplace Relations Commission rejecting a complaint brought on her behalf by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) in late 2016.

Indian nurse alleges racial discrimination after being passed over for promotion 11 times

In her complaint, it was stated Ms Thomas is a staff nurse who has worked at Beaumont since 2004, who has completed a post-graduate diploma in respiratory nursing and is also undertaking a masters.

It was stated she has applied for specialist and management jobs at every opportunity but was overlooked or refused. The complaint said, when she complained of racial discrimination, the hospital did not accept any responsibility and suggested the problem did not lie with it but rather with the overseas nurses and the claimant.

The INMO set out in detail the history of the jobs she had applied for and noted she has more overall experience, specialised experience and qualifications than the successful candidates for promotion who, with one exception, were all Irish.

Her counsel Shane Manus Quinn BL told Mr Justice Seamus Noonan today Ms Thomas is a highly qualified and experienced staff nurse.

He said a Workplace Relations Commission adjudication officer, John Tierney, “bizarrely” dismissed the complaint of racial discrimination without hearing any evidence on behalf of Ms Thomas who had made clear to Mr Tierney she wished to give evidence.

The court was told the adjudication officer had opened the hearing on July 5 2017 and asked the sides if they had any witnesses. The hospital said it had some witnesses and those were then asked to leave the room and their evidence would be heard later.

It is claimed Mr Tierney then asked the sides to open their submissions and Ms Thomas said that was done on her behalf by her INMO representative. The hospital, as part of its submissions, raised an issue whether the complaint was out of time.

It was claimed Mr Tierney said he wanted to check out the case law on that point and adjourned the hearing, saying a full day would be set aside to hear evidence of the witnesses and other evidence and the sides would be informed of that date.

Mr Quinn said some months passed after which a chain of emails passed between the INMO representative for Ms Thomas enquiring about when the case would resume and raising concerns about the delays. They were later informed no second date was being fixed and Mr Tierney proposed to issue a determination of the complaint.

Ms Thomas said the delays had a deleterious effect on her health.

Mr Tierney’s determination issued on April 10th 2018 stated, from the evidence presented at the hearing, it was not possible to conclude Ms Thomas was discriminated against on grounds of race and dismissed her complaint.

Mr Quinn said that determination was “bizarre”. It found against the hospital’s claim the complaint was out of time but proceeded to decide there was no evidence to support the complaint when no evidence had been heard.

Mr Justice Noonan said he was satisfied to grant the ex parte, one side only represented application for leave for judicial review. Pending the outcome of that the judge said he would stay an appeal by Ms Thomas before the Labour Court against the Workplace Relations Commission decision. He adjourned the matter to October.

More on this topic

Man due in court in connection with assault and robbery in CorkMan due in court in connection with assault and robbery in Cork

Meath man, 21, accused of assaulting and robbing transgender escort told gardai he was attacked first with stilettoMeath man, 21, accused of assaulting and robbing transgender escort told gardai he was attacked first with stiletto

Judge orders release of 'exploited' cannabis grow house worker who court hears will now seek asylumJudge orders release of 'exploited' cannabis grow house worker who court hears will now seek asylum

In significant ruling court says barring order must be shown to have been 'produced' to breach accusedIn significant ruling court says barring order must be shown to have been 'produced' to breach accused


More in this Section

Gardaí say no reports of cars ramming on the northside despite videoGardaí say no reports of cars ramming on the northside despite video

Over 600 people waiting on hospital trolleysOver 600 people waiting on hospital trolleys

€18,000 of suspected counterfeit goods seized in Tipperary€18,000 of suspected counterfeit goods seized in Tipperary

Varadkar congratulates Johnson on 'enormous victory'Varadkar congratulates Johnson on 'enormous victory'


Lifestyle

Who hasn’t dreamt of cutting ties with the nine-to-five and living off-the-grid?The great escape: What's life like off the grid?

Jazz in Europe these days exists in a highly networked environment of cultural and political bodies, festivals, promoters, musicians and educators.Jazz Connective Festival: Intriguing, exciting and uncompromising

It will be bittersweet for Stormzy that his second album arrives the day the British Labour party was confirmed as suffering a historic general election trouncing.Album review: Stormzy remains a work in progress

Unique drawings by Quentin Blake, one of Britain’s best-loved illustrators, are available at a Christie’s online auction which runs until December 17.Your chance to buy drawings by Roald Dahl illustrator Quentin Blake

More From The Irish Examiner