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O'Hagan - Proposed Employment Tribunal rules flawed and unfair

3 November, 2003

Sinn Féin Equality Spokesperson, Upper Bann Assembly candidate Dr Dara O'Hagan has criticised proposed new regulations on Industrial Tribunals and Fair Employment Tribunals as completely flawed and unfair.

Dr O'Hagan said:

"It is alarming that the Department of Employment and Learning has put forward proposals which, if implemented, will significantly disadvantage people attempting to challenge discrimination in the workplace.

"The consultation proposals emanate from legislation being introduced in Britain which place a number of unacceptable hurdles in the way of individuals attempting to take cases. There will be a substantial financial increased costs, from £100 to £500, involved in initiating any proceeding and additional powers are being sought to Œstrike out‚ cases at an earlier stage of assessment. These proposals are flawed and unfair.

"This shift will deter individuals seeking redress and will effectively send a green light to those employers involved in discrimination to continue to do so. Given the history of discrimination in the workplace in the North it also represents a retrograde step towards achieving a fair and equal workplace environment.

"These proposals, which should be strongly opposed, are especially alarming at a time when the Equality Commission has also minimized legal assistance to discrimination cases.

"Sinn Féin will be raising these concerns with the Department of Employment and Learning as a matter of priority as we believe these proposals will add to the long-standing problems of discrimination in the workforce here." ENDS

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