In the Equality Tribunal decision of Seamus Quinlan v The Cleaning Corporation, the Tribunal dismissed a cleaning worker’s claim that he had been denied access to employment due to his gender and age.


The Claimant had worked as a cleaner for over twenty years and was interested in applying for a cleaning position in Knock Airport, which was regularly advertised on the local radio. The Claimant applied in 2003 and 2006 but his applications were unsuccessful. In 2006 he was told that he lived too far from the airport for the purposes of the contract. The Claimant’s wife applied for the same position in 2006, so as to ascertain if she would receive a response to her application. She submitted to the Tribunal that she was offered an interview, despite having no previous experience as a cleaner.

In 2010, another position was advertised for the Knock Airport and the Claimant applied for the position. At that time he was working as a part-time cleaner in a school, however he submitted to the Tribunal that he informed the Respondent that he would be willing to give up this position if he was offered a job by the Respondent.

The Claimant submitted to the Tribunal that he had observed that all the cleaning staff working in the Airport were female and that he believed that the Respondent operated an all-female workforce policy.


At the Tribunal hearing the Respondent submitted that the Airport operated strict aviation security restrictions so that staff had to be flexible with regard to shift times. The Respondent submitted further that when she spoke to the Claimant in 2010, he gave no indication that he would be willing to give up his part-time position. Therefore, he did not meet the criteria for an interview because of his inflexibility.

The Respondent also denied operating an all-female workforce policy and noted that there were 12 cleaners working in the Airport, 4 of whom were men. The Respondent submitted that she did not have any record of the Claimant seeking work prior to 2010.


The Tribunal noted that the Claimant had submitted himself that he had been seeking early morning and weekend shifts in 2010 and that he had not made the Respondent aware of his intention to give up his part-time opposition should he be successful in interview. The Tribunal was also satisfied that the Respondent did not operate an all-female workforce policy given the fact that 4 of the 10 cleaning staff were male. As regards discrimination on the basis of age, the Tribunal noted that there were 4 other employees in the Claimant’s age group and therefore there had been no discrimination on the basis of his age or gender.

Accordingly, the Claimant’s case was dismissed.

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