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£11k payout for woman over 'flawed job criteria'

A woman who has won an indirect sex discrimination case says she hopes her victory will help safeguard other women applying for work.

Nuala Crilly has been awarded £11,677 after successfully claiming indirect discrimination when she failed to secure a job with a Londonderry urban regeneration project.

Ms Crilly (47) had applied |for a post as neighbourhood regeneration officer with the Ballymagroarty Hazelbank Community Partnership (BHCP) in October 2010.

She was not shortlisted for the post because she did not meet an essential criterion which stipulated that candidates should have “two years relevant experience in a community development capacity (paid) gained within the last five years.”

Ms Crilly had had a six-year break from paid work because of child caring responsibilities, but during that time had undertaken extensive high-level voluntary work.

She was not shortlisted because her relevant paid experience was before the five-year period. This meant that she was denied the chance to outline at interview how her recent voluntary and other community activities made her a suitable candidate for |the job.

The tribunal found that there was “disproportionate adverse impact on females by the application of the five-year requirement within this criterion”.

It awarded her £5,000 for injury to feelings and, when her actual and future loss was taken into account, she received a sum of £11,677.

A spokesman for the BHCP community group said “We are pleased that the tribunal ultimately recognised that this case involved ‘an honest application of flawed criteria and there was no motive to discriminate against women or the claimant’.”

Anne McKernan, head of |legal services with the Equality Commission, said: “This case underlines the need for all employers to ensure that, when setting criteria for employment, they are not causing |an unnecessary disadvantage to particular groups.”

Belfast Telegraph