Pay-outs for religious bigotry in Ulster soar

Job discrimination is starting to cost millions. David McKittrick repor ts

In the past three months more than £200,000 has been paid out in 22 religious discrimination cases in Northern Ireland, and the number of cases is rising all the time, as Ulster people become less and less tolerant of bias in the workplace.

The money has been handed over by important employers including British Airways and six public bodies. A stream of substantial awards and settlements had already cost public bodies and private companies well over £1m in the past two years, and with more than 500 more cases in the pipeline millions more seems likely to be paid out.

The amounts may well rise steeply, since the Government has recently abolished the upper limit on awards and the volume of complaints is steadily increasing. According to the Fair Employment Commission, the number of inquiries from actual or potential claimants rose 70 per cent in the past year, while cases lodged with the Fair Employment Tribunal rose 16 per cent.

Bob Cooper, the commission chairman, said: "What these figures reveal is that there are more people who are aware of their rights and who are not prepared to put up with behaviour which would have gone unchallenged 20 years ago."

The increasing trend is for employers to settle cases rather than allow them to run their course before the tribunal. Only three of the most recent 22 cases went the distance and resulted in awards: the other 19 were settled for substantial sums.

The bulk of the money has gone to people claiming they were victims of anti-Catholic discrimination. One of the exceptions was a Protestant man who is a councillor for the Rev Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionist party. He failed to be appointed as a fitterby a thread firm and accepted a £11,000 settlement.

The largest pay-out, £35,000, went to a Catholic man turned down for a job with the Milk Marketing Board. The tribunal was told he had been interviewed in a "negative, stern, frosty, unfriendly and unwelcoming" atmosphere. In this and a number of other cases the employers denied discrimination, but the board said it had settled because its records were not detailed enough to refute the claimant's recollections.

In another case a Catholic woman received £30,000 from the National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting after being turned down for the post of senior nurse tutor.

In Co Tyrone a Catholic woman received a £20,000 settlement from her former employer, a textile company called Moygashel Ltd, after claiming that she had been unfairly selected for redundancy. The firm settled the case without any admission on its part.

British Airways paid a Catholic employee £11,000 to settle two discrimination claims. The man alleged he had been discriminated against when he applied for the post of duty cargo officer at Belfast international airport.

When he applied for a second post and was also unsuccessful, he alleged he had been victimised because he had complained about his failure to be appointed to the first post. British Airways denied liability.

Public bodies involved in cases included housing, health and education concerns.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing