CASE REF NOS: 47/00FET
APPLICANT: William R (Wilbert) Leacock
RESPONDENT: Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
The unanimous decision of the Tribunal is to dismiss each of the complaints. The applicant is ordered to pay the sum of £150 in costs to the respondent.
APPLICANT: Mr T McGleenan, Barrister-at-Law, instructed by the Equality Commission.
RESPONDENT: Mr F O'Reilly, Barrister-at-Law, instructed by the Departmental Solicitor.
"Thank you for attending the recent interview for the above post.
As the number of vacancies is limited I regret to inform you that, although you were found suitable at interview you were not, unfortunately, placed sufficiently high in the selection panel's order of merit to be considered for an immediate appointment.
However, subject to the satisfactory outcome of the various pre-appointment enquiries, we would propose to hold you as a reserve for SB/74/98 - TG1 District Foreman - Coleraine, in the event of any of those candidates who are offered an appointment not accepting it or if further vacancies arise in the next 12 months.
In the meantime, therefore, I would ask you to respond to any requests for information as speedily as possible and if you change your address or find that you would be unable to take a post if offered, perhaps you would contact me without delay. I must point out that if you have not been offered a post by the time we next advertise for a vacancy of this nature, it will be necessary for you to reapply."
"The post for which you applied in December 1998 was in the Coleraine area but the vacancy which arose in November 1999 was in the Londonderry area so would not be filled from the recruitment competition for the Coleraine area."
The evidence given supported this response but the nature of that evidence was -
(a) from the recently appointed Head of Recruitment Services who had no personal knowledge of these matters.
(b) from an area engineer and took the form of his inability to recall a single case where a vacancy in an unadvertised post was filled by a reserve candidate from another competition.
Neither testimony is strong evidence of the intention of those who made the applicant a reserve candidate, the intention of the letter writer who conveyed this message or of the practice and procedure in the Rivers Agency at this time. The Head of Recruitment Service testified that the letters issued to the applicant were unfortunate pro forma type letters which were currently being revamped. We have some difficulty in accepting that the letter written on 8 January 1999 was a 'pro forma' type letter for it was written in response to a direct inquiry from the applicant and it too mentions further vacancies arising in the next 12 months.
(1) he did nothing about claiming this post despite the post being vacant from November 1999 until he made contact in January 2000 by way of questionnaire.
(2) he adduced no evidence of any reserve candidate appointed to a post other than the post applied for.
(i) his area engineer treated him in August 2000 in a hostile, abusive and intimidatory manner, and
(ii) he was treated less favourably in the awarding of 'acting-up' status to District Foreman.
[Acting up in this period was required by the absence through illness of SM who was absent from 30 March 1998 until medically retired on 21 May 1999. The applicant allegedly was scheduled to begin 26 weeks acting up from 5 July 1999 until 10 January 2000 but DMcG was promoted to District Foreman in Fermanagh on 19 April 1999 and took up post in Omagh on 28 June 1999. The varying lengths of acting up periods allegedly reflected the duration of medical certificates from SM and the increasingly poor prognosis.]
|JC||2 months - review||15/11/99||-||14/1/00|
|JC||Reviewed - extension 3 months||17/1/00||-||17/4/00|
|JC||Reviewed - 3 months||17/4/00||-||21/7/00|
[Acting-up in this period was required because two district foremen were seconded to technical grades. JC accepted the Omagh post. Supervisors WL (applicant) and RH declined to act. Post in Moneymore filled by temporary transfer of district foreman from Fermanagh. In July 2000 WL (applicant) agreed to act up. Complaint made on 24†October 2000.]
substantial costs involved in preparing to meet such a claim - and indeed substantial distress and inconvenience to those accused of such discrimination. The respondent has left the matter of costs entirely to the Tribunal. We believe a sum of £150 should be paid by the applicant to the respondent.
J E MAGUIRE
Date and place of hearing: 6-8 January 2003, Belfast
Date decision recorded in register and issued to parties: