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Credit union must pay Disabled Man Awarded €7,500 For Credit Union Car Prize Draw Ban

Posted: August 4th, 2021

A Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) ruling has awarded a man with an intellectual disability €7,500 after being the subject of discrimination when he was not allowed to enter a car-draw.

WRC Adjudicator Brian Dalton directed Co Cavan Link Credit Union Ltd to pay €7,500 to Matthew Reilly after issuing a ruling that he was discriminated against on the grounds of his disability under the Equal Status Act. In addition to this Link Credit Union was direct to permit Mr Reilly, with his mother Martina’s permission, enter the car draw in future.

A complaint was made to the WRC after Link Credit Union informed Mr Reilly, following legal advice, that it would not be appropriate to take the €60 annual car draw payment in November 2018 from him. The reasoning behind this was that Mr Reilly would not be able to use the car if he won it in the draw.

As he has a mental disability and is unable to provide informed consent, Mr Reilly delegated authority to his mother, Martina so that she would be able to act in his interests concerning his credit union account. Since Mr Reilly’s account was initially opened in 1993 his Martina had been looking after her son’s interests concerning his credit union account.

In the WRC hearing Mrs Reilly claimed that her son was the victim of discrimination due to his disability and was being dealt with unfairly as other entrants to the draw are not required to prove that they can enter the prize draw.

The draw in question takes place every two months. Mr Dalton stated that it is not a reasonable course of action to treat Mr Reilly differently to other credit union members who have a different disability – or none – regard to the fact that Mr Reilly’s best interests are safeguarded due to the representation of his mother.

The WRC adjudicator said that Mr Reilly’s mother was approved by the credit union board to act on Matthew’s behalf and added that Mr Reilly is over 18 and previously been allowed to enter the draw.

In the ruling it was stated that, while the initial basis not to allow Mr Reilly to enter the draw was made as a result of his incapacity to drive, this was later added to with reference to a broader regulatory framework and fiduciary duty.

However, the ruling went on to say, if Mr Reilly was to win the car in the draw, he could be driven in the car or sell it for a profit the same as any other member of the Credit Union could.

The draw is run on a non-profit basis and creates a pot of money that pays for the prizes. The draw is run as a service for members’ benefit.

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