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Fuel station operator ordered to pay taxi driver €7.5k over alleged use of n-word by employee

The case was brought before the Workplace Relations Commission.

THE OPERATOR OF a Galway city retail outlet and fuel station has been ordered to pay €7,500 compensation to a taxi driver after finding that he was allegedly subjected to the n-word by a staff member.

At the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), adjudicator Janet Hughes found that XYZ Retail Ltd is vicariously liable for the discriminatory treatment made by the now departed staff member on the grounds of race and colour of Daniel Asari in March/April 2021.

In her findings, Hughes stated that she was satisfied that Daniel Asari was discriminated against on grounds of race and/or colour under the Equal Status Act in the early hours of the morning of 31 March 2021 when he was ignored and denied service.

Hughes also stated she was satisfied that in the early hours of the following morning Asarai was subjected to racial discrimination by the same employee in the form of abusive language related to his race and/or colour.

Hughes stated that the award of 50% of the maximum award allows for all of the evidence and factors presented to the hearing.

Hughes stated that took into account “the pattern of humiliating treatment of Mr Asari by the former employee compounded by the employer’s response to Ms Asari’s complaint”, which is also found to be discriminatory and for which the employer is directly liable.

As part of the order, Hughes has directed that the firm – which operates a number of retail outlets – amends its staff policies to include specific references to forms of discrimination under the Equal Status Act, that discrimination under these grounds in words or deeds is not acceptable and that any acts of discrimination by employees will be liable to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.


In evidence, Asari told the WRC that he was denied service in the early hours of 1 April 2021 for a second time at the fuel station by the same employee.

Asari described the employee as becoming angry, saying that he would meet him in court.

Asari alleged that the employee started name calling using the n-word, a racial slur.

The employee said that he was going to call gardaí, but Asari was the one who rang them.

Asari said that they came and took details and told him they were not in a position to make a decision, that he should get a lawyer.

Asari clarified that it was on the second occasion that he was subjected to racial slurs about race, colour, identity.

In relation to the first incident on 31 March 2021, Asari said that he went to obtain fuel for his car by placing the nozzle into his petrol tank, the same employee was looking at him but did not open the tap so that he could obtain fuel.

Asari waited about 30 minutes and was embarrassed because others who came in were served and obtained fuel whereas he had to obtain fuel from another taxi driver.

Asari stated that he was denied a service and before that night had no previous dealings with that particular employee.

WRC form

In his formal form lodged with the WRC, Asari wrote: “I believe that from my first interaction with the cashier, and subsequently the supervisor, that because of my race including my colour and accent, and despite my fluency in English, I was treated differently than I would have been had I been a native Irish customer.”

He said: “I was left humiliated and was forced to seek out the help of a colleague to assist me by bringing me enough diesel so that I could go to a different garage to fill my tank.”

He added: “The staff member treated me with obvious contempt, using a crude and prejudicial racist slur when speaking to me. They threatened to call the gardaí, insinuating that I had done something illegal, when I was merely seeking a service; a service which I believe would not have been denied to me were I native Irish customer.”

He further stated: “I believe that if I had been a native Irish customer, I would have received a follow up call from senior management.”

At the WRC, the retail outlet and petrol station stated that Asari was a valued customer of the business.

The firm stated that they would take a dim view of any incident of the kind described.

The firm stated a matter on the second night was investigated, and the employee was interviewed and reprimanded by way of a warning and at the end of his probation he was let go in June 2021.

The firm stated that it was their understanding that the incident was about sandwich at the deli and the employee asked Asarai to leave.

If there was an incident, the firm wanted to apologise for what had happened.

In clarification to Hughes, the firm stated that the former employee was reprimanded for failing to provide a service to Asari, and his description of what occurred related to an insistence on receiving a sandwich from the deli which was closed.