Temple Bar ‘sandwich-board man’ wins racial discrimination case

Dublin pub is ordered to pay Felix Guerrero €5,000 for refusing to accept medical cert

Merchant’s Arch in Dublin

Merchant’s Arch in Dublin

 

A Temple Bar pub has been ordered to pay €5,000 to a Brazilian-born “sandwich-board man” after it was found to have racially discriminated against him.

Felix Guerrero alleged at the Labour Court that after he handed in a medical certificate from Mater hospital doctor Dr Andrew Ngaditiono, his supervisor at the Merchant’s Arch bar refused to allow him return to work “until he got a cert from a proper doctor stating that he was fit to return to work”.

This was disputed by the Merchant’s Arch Restaurants Company Ltd, which denied discrimination.

However, the Labour Court found that the company racially discriminated against Mr Guerrero when refusing to accept his medical cert.

Awarding Mr Guerrero €5,000, the court said, “Discrimination on the grounds of race is a very serious infringement of the law and cannot be treated lightly.

“Treatment at work cannot vary with the nationality of the person involved. Such discriminatory treatment is odious, unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.”

Workplace legislation

Mr Guerrero made several claims against the Merchant’s Arch – which is located opposite the Ha’Penny Bridge – under workplace legislation and was awarded €10,650 in total.

Mr Guerrero’s main duty was holding an advertising sign on the street inviting passersby into the bar and restaurant. On April 13th, 2016, he collapsed at his home and was brought to the Mater Misercordiae Hospital.

On April 20th, Mr Guerrero presented a medical cert from Dr Ngaditiono, a senior registrar doctor at the Mater, to his manager at the Merchants Arch.

He told the court his boss refused to allow him to return to work until he got a cert from a “proper doctor”.

Mr Guerrero returned to the Mater seeking a different cert. He said the hospital told him it had already provided him with a cert and could go no further than that.

However, the manager denied ever telling Mr Guerrero to get a note “from a proper doctor”. He denied receiving the medical cert dated April 19th and told the court that had he received the cert, he would have allowed Mr Guerrero to work.

Mr Guerrero did not return to work at the Merchant’s Arch.

In its ruling, the Labour Court determined the evidence put forward by the employer “lacks credibility and is not consistent with the documents adduced in evidence”.

It found that Mr Guerrero’s complaint that he was treated differently because he was a foreign national was “well founded”.

The court found Mr Guerrero was discriminated against “simply because of his national origin. That is unacceptable. No mitigating explanation was offered by the respondent.”

A spokesman for Merchant’s Arch declined to comment.