The Public Service Executive Union represented the Civil Servant who took the case to the Workplace Relations Commission regarding inappropriate questioning at a job interview by Minister of State, John Halligan, T.D.
The member concerned wishes to retain her anonymity and we will respect that. However, in answer to media queries, we wish to make some brief observations.
It beggars belief that 40 years after the enactment of the first Employment Equality Act 1977 anybody, let alone a Government Minister, would think that it is acceptable to ask questions based on an out-moded view of the role of a mother. That such questions were asked by somebody who is a Minister in the Department that was, at the time, the Department charged with the promotion and implementation of equality legislation is, frankly, shameful.
We hope that that the publicity around this case makes it clear that it is never ok to ask discriminatory questions or to make discriminatory assumptions regarding candidates simply because of their family circumstances.
It took courage for the member concerned to take on her Department and a Government Minister. Both her employer and the Minister let her, and themselves, down badly, breached the very laws that they are required to uphold and treated a member of staff in a disgraceful fashion.
In consultation with the member concerned, we are considering next steps.