The recent Equality Tribunal award of €4,000 against an Irish school for ‘discriminatory’ treatment of a separated father should act as a wake-up call for all schools, when it comes to dealing with parental separation and divorce.
In the case successfully taken to the Equality Tribunal (read more here), the separated father who took the case claimed that the school had sided with his estranged wife in withholding information from him about their daughter. The Equality Officer said she was satisfied that the complainant was “treated differently than other parents in the circumstance.”
For schools, they need to respond to this case for a number of reasons and in a number of ways:
For parents, it is hard enough going through separation or divorce so please take note of the following key points:
Most importantly and positively, however, the Equality Tribunal decision recognises the importance of the role played by the parent who is not the primary caregiver, in cases of joint custody. As this is normally the father, the case represents a huge step forward in the rights of separated fathers. Finally, it must be acknowledged that the ruling may not be relevant in cases where access to children has been restricted by court rulings.
If you need advice or support on any of the issues raised above, please call Alan Finnerty on 01 637 6200. Or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.
Orpen Franks Solicitors LLP
28 & 30 Burlington Road, Dublin 4, Ireland
Telephone: +353 1 637 6200
Facsimile: +353 1 637 6262