Many people already know that the Commission is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination laws.
We publish outlines of legal cases resolved each year as the Annual Review of Decisions and Settlements. Decisions are findings of fact by the tribunals or county courts. Settlements are resolved by mutual agreement before the case goes to court.
A Belfast estate agents called Homefinders used documents in which properties for letting or sale were indicated as not being suitable for members of minority ethnic groups. The Commission contacted the company and, under the terms of Article 62 of the Race Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1997, Homefinders , made an Agreement by which they undertook not to discriminate on racial grounds and stated that they will not be involved either in instructing others or in accepting inducements from others to behave in a discriminatory way. Under Article 62, if it appears to the Commission that the company has failed to comply with their undertaking, the Commission can bring the matter before the County Court for decision.
Purdon v O'Donnell
Mr. Purdon, a gay man, complained that he was evicted by his landlord from a room he rented in a house in South Belfast. He had been subjected to homophobic abuse outside the property on a number of occasions and had complained to the police about this and they offered to send an officer to talk to him and his landlord about it. When he contacted his landlord he declined to attend but subsequently sent him a text message giving him one month’s notice to vacate the room, citing risk to Mr. Purdon, other tenants and the property. He replied that the situation had calmed down and that he did not want to move. He received no response for two weeks by which time he had signed another tenancy agreement. The landlord settled the case and agreed to pay Mr. Purdon £3,500 and apologised for any injury to feelings, upset and distress suffered by Mr. Purdon. He agreed to ensure his practices and procedures conformed with the law.