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Landlord who subjected tenant to tirade of foul mouthed racist abuse ordered to pay €15,000

The landlord did not show up for the WRC hearing.

Image: Shutterstock/best_nj

A LANDLORD WHO subjected a Congolese-born tenant to a tirade of foul-mouthed racist abuse has been ordered to pay €15,000 compensation to the man.

In his ruling, Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) Adjudication Officer Breiffni O’Neill has ordered that landlord, Martin Fleming pay Wally Nkikita the maximum compensation allowed under the Equal Status Act for harassment on the grounds of race.

O’Neill stated that the €15,000 award is appropriate having “witnessed the effects of the discriminatory treatment has had on the complainant”. 

He stated: “In addition, I have taken into account the serious and ongoing nature of the abuse and harassment on the race ground.”

O’Neill stated that on the basis of the evidence from Nkikita and in the absence of any evidence to the contrary: “I am satisfied that the respondent repeatedly subjected him to hostile and intimidating behaviour and called him offensive names, which constitutes harassment.”

As part of his case, Nkikita produced a video recording of an interaction he had with Fleming on 5 January last when he approached him to fix an alarm. 

In his report, O’Neill stated that Fleming referred to Nkikita as “a black p***k, a black f***ker, a black c**t”. 

In evidence before the WRC, Nikita also claimed that Fleming physically assaulted him with a brush on that occasion and that when he made him aware that he was recording the conversation Fleming said that he could “play the recording next to his flute in the Congo next week”. 

Nkikita also said that he asked Fleming to fix the toilet on numerous occasions but that when he did so the landlord abused him using racial epithets, threatened to cut his head off and send him “on a slow boat back to the Congo”. 

Nkikita also stated that Fleming informed him that there was nothing wrong with the toilet except for the fact that his wife was “sh***ing and putting too much toilet paper into it”. 

Nkikita said that when he attempted to unblock the toilet himself, faeces came into the shower which meant that they had to bathe using a bucket.  

As a result of the failure to fix the toilet, both he and his wife had to go to the petrol station to use the toilet there. 

Mr Nkikita also claimed that there were worms in the property as a result of the neglect and produced photographic evidence of the rooms in the property. 

As a result of the conditions of the house, Nkikita said that he sought to declare himself homeless so that he could be accommodated elsewhere.

Nkikita stated that he came to Ireland in 2010 and was in direct provision for six years prior to renting the property from Fleming in August 2016.

Nkikita’s evidence was uncontested as Fleming didn’t show up for the hearing. 

O’Neill stated: “Despite having been informed by letter on 3 October of the location, date and time of the hearing, the respondent did not attend to give evidence.”

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Gordon Deegan

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