Man who said homosexuality and abortion are evil loses discrimination case

A Dubliner who listed a key achievement as standing up for his religious beliefs which include that “homosexuality is an intrinsic disorder inclined towards evil” has lost a discrimination case.

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) threw out the discrimination case taken by Mark Savage against employment advisors, Seetec Employment And Skills Ireland - writes

WRC Adjudication Officer, Ian Barrett found that Mr Savage has not proved primary facts of sufficient significance to raise the inference of discrimination.

Mr Savage’s CV was submitted for a vacancy in a healthcare firm and in the Key Achievements section, Mr Savage wrote: “Standing up for and defending my religious beliefs which include that abortion on demand is evil and homosexuality is an intrinsic disorder inclined towards evil”.

Mr Savage claimed that on reading the section, his employment advisor at Seetec Employment And Skills Ireland said “you can’t say that, employers are biased”, which is when Mr Savage alleged the discrimination occurred.

Mr Savage alleged that he was discriminated against under Section 21 of the Equal Status Act by being treated less favourably than other people on the ground of religion and by being treated unlawfully by being discriminated against in the provision of goods and services.

Seetec does not accept that the Employment Advisor used these words, and submitted that the advice given was constructive in nature, made without partiality or bias and was solely job related.

Seetec told the hearing that an employer advisor asked Mr Savage why he had included the line, telling him that as not all employers would share his views on abortion and homosexuality and this might influence their decision whether to invite him for interview.

Mr Savage advised that it is immaterial if the comment by his employment advisor was only intended to advise him that the wording was detrimental to his prospects of getting an interview.

He stated he is proud of his achievements and being told that he could not include them on his CV “caused him emotional upset and distress”.

At the hearing, Mr Savage contended that if an individual with an LGBT background listed as a key achievement on their CV that they had campaigned for a Yes vote in the marriage referendum, or someone with a disability stated that they had campaigned vigorously for improved services for wheelchair users, then in all probability, the employment advisor would not have cautioned such a person in the same way.

Mr Savage believes that notwithstanding the fact that the employment advisor had a valid concern that the wording on the CV would diminish his employment prospects, he would not say the same thing to a comparator and therefore he was discriminated against because of his religious beliefs and the advisor’s employer is vicariously liable.

An Operations Director for Seetec explained that it is their function to advise clients on the format and content of their CV, to enhance their prospects of obtaining interviews and employment.

He stated that at no stage did the Employment Advisor ask that Mr Savage to remove the text or wording but proffered his opinion that the content of the Key Achievements section would diminish his employment prospects.

Seetec told the hearing that their employees do not make judgements regarding the views or beliefs of any of its clients, but that they are respected.

However, they would be negligent in their duties if they did not provide professional opinion or advice to enhance their client’s prospects of gaining employment.

Seetec stated that they were unaware of Mr Savage’s religious beliefs and they were of no relevance to the service they provided; the employment advisor had acted impartially and was not biased in any way.

Seetec stated that the evidence shows that the wording used on the Mr Savage’s CV goes beyond an expression of his religious beliefs. Furthermore, they alleged that at a review meeting between Mr Savage and the employment advisor in December 2016, Mr Savage expressed his opinion that homosexuality is an intrinsic disorder inclined towards evil and gay people are an abomination of nature.

Seetec concluded by saying that Mr Savage is unable to make a prima facie case that discrimination took place and has not linked any of the points he raises to the alleged religious discrimination.

In his ruling Mr Barrett said the evidence does not support the contention that Mr Savage was treated differently or less favourably on the grounds of religion and as Mr Savage does not discharge the initial probative burden which he bears, his case cannot succeed.

Read also other Dublin news here.
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