A restaurant has been ordered to pay a bar manager €20,000 compensation by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) after he was repeatedly called “queer” at work, constituting harassment in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation.

The bar manager, a gay man, provided the WRC with a number of examples of the offensive language used to describe his sexuality by his two bosses, with one in particular routinely referring to other gay men as “queers”.

Although frequently asking him to stop, the boss continued to refer to the bar manager as “queer” on an almost daily basis.

Discriminatory Language

Speaking about the discriminatory language that was used, WRC adjudication officer Marian Duffy stated: “I cannot comprehend how senior managers in a workplace would consider it acceptable to call such offensive names or make such offensive comments to a gay man.”

Ms. Duffy also added that there had been a breach of trust and duty of care towards an employee by the directors, and in the process created an offensive and degrading work environment for the bar manager, rejecting the assertion that the language was merely “banter”.

Promoting Equality and Preventing Discrimination

Promoting equality and preventing discrimination in the workplace is an increasingly important area of Irish employment law. The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) was established in 2015 and is the single body of appeal for all workplace relations appeals.

The Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015 sets out an obligation for all employers to ensure that they prevent harassment in the workplace, and that any matters of this nature that do arise are dealt with promptly and appropriately.

Under the law, you as an employee are also entitled to bring a claim before the WRC if you believe you are being or have been harassed, whether directly or indirectly, and that you feel appropriate measures have not been taken to address the issue.

Seeking Legal Counsel

Whether you are seeking further legal advice on discrimination/harassment you have experienced in your place of work or are looking to file a claim with the Workplace Relations Commission, please feel free to speak with a member of our legal team who will be happy to provide you with expert guidance and assistance.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*