Separated man awarded €4,000 after being told not to attend his daughter’s sports day

The man’s wife had enrolled her in a school without his knowledge.

by Paul Hosford, Monday 17th November 2014


THE EQUALITY TRIBUNAL has awarded €4,000 to a separated father who was asked not to attend his daughter’s sports day.


In a decision published today, the tribunal found that the man had been discriminated under “gender, civil status and victimisation” grounds, but not on family status grounds.


The man told the tribunal that his estranged wife, who lived with their daughter in the midlands, had enrolled the child in a school without his knowledge.


He said that he received an email the day before his daughter’s school sports day informing him of the details.


He said that he was travelling from Dublin to the midlands to attend the sports day and telephoned the school principal to confirm the details of the time and location of the event.


The principal returned his call and informed him that she had received a call from his estranged wife to say that his daughter would not be attending the sports day because he was planning to attend.


The complainant said that the principal was “very rude” to him and told him that she could not have him engaging in disruptive behavior in front of other parents. She then requested that he produce court documents on his access and custody arrangements for his daughter and she threatened that she would call the gardaí in relation to the matter.


He said that it was impossible to reason with the principal and he terminated the conversation. He said that he then sent a text to his ex-wife and asked her to take the child to the sports day because he was not attending in the circumstances.


He said in evidence that he did not want his child to miss out on the sports day because she enjoyed sport and was looking forward to the event.


He said that the school “informs” his ex-wife when he is attending events and his wife then removes the child.




The school responded that the principal had made the call to ensure “that there would be no difficulty in front of the children and parents on the occasion of the school sports day” and that they had been informed the mother had sole custody of the child.


In the decision, the equality officer found in the man’s favour on three of the four grounds, ordering the school to pay €4,000 to the man “to compensate him for the anxiety and distress he experience as a consequence of the discriminatory treatment and victimisation”.