Compensation to be paid to employee after ‘faggot’ graffiti in workplace

WRC rules worker subjected to discrimination and harassment at Dublin company

The WRC  accepted the employer sought to find out who had written the graffiti and that notices regarding harassment and graffiti were posted in the workplace.

The WRC accepted the employer sought to find out who had written the graffiti and that notices regarding harassment and graffiti were posted in the workplace.

 

A Dublin-based company has been ordered to pay a worker €7,000 after graffiti appeared in his workplace with the “highly offensive and deplorable” word ‘faggot’.

At the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), the worker, Ruffy Magat stated the term ‘faggot’ is the most degrading term for a gay person.

The Asian man told the WRC hearing that there was ongoing harassment and sexual harassment in the workplace.

Mr Magat told his bosses at Component Distributors (CD Ireland) Ltd of the ‘Ruffy faggot’ graffiti on August 24th, 2018 and it took until September 3rd for them to have the graffiti removed.

He said it “should have been cleaned off immediately”.

The WRC made the award after finding that Mr Magat was subject to discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

It is the second time the company has been ordered to make a payment to Mr Magat.

It was made after the WRC found, in April 2018, that Mr Magat was discriminated against on the grounds of race.

This arose from an incident in January 2017 where an employee made comments to him in a Chinese-style ‘yingyingyandyang’ talk.

The WRC found that the employer didn’t take sufficient action to deal with the incident.

In relation to the August 2018 graffiti incident, WRC adjudication officer, Kevin Baneham noted “that while this incident related to the inscription of two words, one word is highly offensive and deplorable”.

“It refers to him by his first name. The graffiti uses the deeply offensive term “faggot”, a pejorative reference to sexual orientation. This clearly creates an intimidating and offensive environment.”

Mr Baneham found the employer “had not taken the reasonably practicable steps to prevent harassment” and as of August 2018, it had not provided training to staff.

“Such training would have signalled to employees the seriousness the respondent takes tackling harassment.”

Mr Baneham accepted that the employer sought to find out who had written the graffiti and that notices regarding harassment and graffiti were posted in the workplace.

A firm of solicitors delivered ‘Diversity – Dignity at work’ training to staff. The first session took place in October 2018 and a further session will take place in 2019.

The firm, which specialises in importing, sales and distribution of automotive products, stated that “on learning of the graffiti, the operations manager reported this immediately to the board of directors, who took it very seriously”.

Speaking after the ruling, Mr Magat thanked his solicitors “for their support in helping me bring this case which was very important personally for me in seeking my rights for a workplace free from discrimination and harassment”.