*Killaloe Hotel and Spa. 

THE OPERATOR of a Co Clare hotel which provided an industrial size mayonnaise bucket to a ‘humiliated’ wheelchair user and her daughter, who has autism, to help wash themselves in their hotel room has been ordered to pay out €7,000 compensation in a discrimination case.

At the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), Adjudicator, Peter O’Brien has ordered Flexiteam Ltd, which operates Killaloe Hotel and Spa, pay €7,000 compensation to Dr Jacqueline Elliott after finding that the hotel discriminated against Dr Elliott under the Equal Status Act.

At hearing, Dr Elliott stated that she was subjected to “repetitious humiliation” arising from the hotel’s failure to provide a hotel room where she was unable to access or use the bathroom containing a toilet and shower.

On January 22nd 2023, Dr Elliott booked a room at the hotel for herself and her daughter through pigsback.com for February 16th and Dr Elliott required a wheelchair accessible room.

Pigsback.com confirmed the required facilities in a booking confirmation form which stated under special requirements ‘accessible room, one full time wheelchair user with an autistic child’.

However, when Dr Elliott arrived at the hotel she was not able to access or use the bathroom or washing facilities in the room and access to other facilities in the hotel were either blocked or required people or things to be moved to give her access.

On the night of their stay, Dr Elliott requested a basin to do her ablutions in the morning after finding that the hotel room toilet was not accessible for her small electric wheelchair.

However, Dr Elliott stated that she was “humiliated” to be passed a bucket at 9pm and Mr O’Brien stated that the photo provided by Dr Elliott was “a large industrial mayonnaise bucket”.

Dr Elliott stated that she had to use the bucket in the morning having no privacy from her daughter.

Dr Elliott told the hearing that after being shown their hotel room where the bathroom was not wheelchair accessible, she went to the hotel reception to speak to the General Manager where she was told the ’new girl’ had taken the booking.

The ’new girl’ on reception told Dr Elliott that she had only just started and she did not know that they had no accessible rooms.

Dr Elliott stated that the hotel stay was supposed to be a treat for her daughter.

Dr Elliott stated that during an interval to an online Zoom meeting, the GM, Jibin Thomas offered to give Dr Elliott her money back and she could go and stay in a hotel nearer for her next day’s meeting in Limerick.

Dr Elliott stated that at this point, it was pouring with rain and she was exhausted because she had started at 5am that morning. Dr Elliott told the GM that she was uncomfortable leaving in case she had an accident as she was worn out.

On March 6th, after Dr Elliott had initiated her discrimination claim, Mr Thomas emailed Dr Elliott to state that “once again, please accept my sincere apologies. I accept that it shouldn’t have happened and I put my hands up for the mix up with the rooms”.

After Dr Elliott confirmed her intention to take her discrimination claim, Mr Thomas offered Dr Elliott €500 for the inconvenience caused plus a number of nights stay accommodation at the group’s Sligo resort.

Mr O’Brien was told that the hotel firm has zero tolerance for discrimination and is extremely apologetic for any distress, upset or inconvenience caused to Dr Elliott.

In his findings, Mr O’Brien stated that he had no doubt that there was no intention by the hotel firm and the young receptionist to deliberately cause the events that occurred.

However, he stated that Dr Elliott had checked in on the basis of the booking confirmation “and found the facilities totally unsuitable, humiliating and upsetting”.

Mr O’Brien found that Dr Elliott should have been informed immediately by the hotel when it received the pigsback.com confirmation that it was incapable of hosting Dr Elliott as it did not have the room facilities to do so.

Mr O’Brien stated that the hotel manager, Jibin Thomas was “genuinely remorseful and apologetic” to Dr Elliott at hearing but by offering the accessible services to Dr Elliott and not providing them, the hotel had discriminated against Dr Elliott.

Mr O’Brien stated that the other factor which must be taken into account in deciding the quantum of the award is the embarrassing and distressful situation Dr Elliott was put in especially with her autistic child present.

Mr O’Brien stated that while he accepted that the GM made some efforts to resolve the situation, these did not go far enough and he did not act swiftly enough to resolve the situation by immediately booking another hotel with wheelchair accessible rooms and arranging suitable transport to and from that hotel.

Mr O’Brien found that Dr Elliott’s complaint under the Equal Status Act is well founded as she was subject to less favourable treatment as a result of her disability and that the hotel firm failed to provide the necessary accommodation it committed to on the booking form to Dr Elliott to facilitate her stay at the hotel.

Mr O’Brien noted that Dr Elliott had stated that her main concern was that another disabled person would not have to endure the same situation she encountered.

Mr O’Brien has directed that the Killaloe Hotel and Spa amend its website to show that their rooms are not wheelchair accessible and stated that he would strongly encourage it to review its policy on the non-provision of a room with disabled facilities.

Related News

shannon airport car park 1
Cargo flight from Miami diverts to Shannon Airport
TMP_3810
Relay For Life ‘a very powerful community’ says Clare Rose Aisling
kevin corrigan mary howard samba 1-2
Ennis 2040 DAC Chief & Cllr Howard to start up samba band
eoin gavin 2
'Impact of lack of housing in Shannon is too big to ignore' - Chamber President lays it on the line for Housing Minister
Latest News
kevin corrigan mary howard samba 1-2
Ennis 2040 DAC Chief & Cllr Howard to start up samba band
eoin gavin 2
'Impact of lack of housing in Shannon is too big to ignore' - Chamber President lays it on the line for Housing Minister
Ennis Car Park Announcement 031 eamon o'dea pat dowling kieran keating deirdre murphy brian fitzpatrick
Lease arrangement with Council for Cloister car park offers 'financial assurance & certainty' for Clare GAA
uhl exterior
Preliminary assessment underway following death of teenage girl at UHL
alan troy mary howard 1
Fianna Fáil tipped to run four candidates in West Clare
Premium
alan troy mary howard 1
Fianna Fáil tipped to run four candidates in West Clare
sixmilebridge road parking
Man arrested & released without charge in investigation into alleged assault of boy (12)
2022 Clare Co Board Convention -9440
Clare GAA will be keeping door open for media to attend County Board meetings
Ennis Car Park Announcement 026 pat dowling kieran keating
Council & Clare GAA enter commercial arrangement to lease Cloister car park
st josephs doora barefield v clarecastle 03-06-23 colin lynch 1
Intermediate hurling management teams finalised for clubs vying to get back to top tier

Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

Scroll to Top