Trans woman settles sex discrimination case against Debenhams for £9,000



A transgender woman supported by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland has settled a sex discrimination case against retailer Debenhams for £9,000 with no admission of liability.

Ava Moore, from Newry, applied for a job as a temporary sales assistant in the run-up to Christmas 2018 and was invited to interview, but was ultimately unsuccessful.

She said there was “a change in the atmosphere” in the job interview “after I provided my birth certificate which discloses my gender history and the fact that I am a transgender woman”.

After being formally informed of the decision by Debenhams not to employ her, Ms Moore received an anonymous email which alleged that she had been unsuccessful in her job application because she is a transgender woman.

Dr Michael Wardlow, chief commissioner of the Equality Commission, said: “The issue here is simple – a job should go to the person who does best at interview and in selection tests. That’s what equality of opportunity in practice means.

“The company confirmed that Ava performed well at interview and in interacting with customers – and she says she told them she was willing to work the hours required. The more open and inclusive the recruitment process, the more likely it is to avoid unlawful discrimination and increase the likelihood of getting the best and most qualified people for the job.

“Debenhams has said it’s willing to liaise with the Commission to review its equal opportunities policies, practices and procedures – we welcome this commitment and look forward to working with them.”

The company affirms its commitment to the principle of equality of opportunity and to ensuring its policies, practices and procedures comply with national and European equality law and the relevant codes of practice, in particular the Sex Discrimination (NI) Order 1976. Debenhams has undertaken to meet the Commission to review these.



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