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Fast food worker awarded €2k after boss 'walked around shop with raw sausage hanging from trousers'

Although successful in her claim of sexual harassment, the WRC found the woman wasn’t discriminated against.

A WOMAN WHO worked for a fast food outlet has been awarded €2,000 compensation by the Workplace Relations Commission, after she made a complaint about sexual harassment by her employer.

However, because the behaviour of the employer in the incidents outlined at the hearing were directed “at all staff”, it wasn’t accepted that she hadn’t been discriminated against and this complaint wasn’t upheld.

She’d been working in the take away for a number of years before the current owners took over. 

It was her case that she was degraded, undermined and treated in a discriminatory manner which would not have been afforded to male staff.

The WRC adjudicator said: “She stated that she used to have 25 – 30 hours per week at the beginning of her employment and had many responsibilities including key holder, working on her own, handling cash and taking orders.

She stated that by the time she left her employment she had been demoted to cleaning and answering the phone.

The woman said a number of incidents occurred which led to her leaving the job. 

She alleged that when a customer was short money for a bag of chips, she was told to take 50c worth of chips from the order.

In another incident, she alleged that her employer “walked around the shop with a raw sausage hanging from his trousers and that she found this particularly offensive and disgusting behaviour”.

The woman also said he was regularly making offensive jokes and remarks.

The employer strongly denied all the allegations made by his former worker.

“The respondent stated that were was some workplace banter with sexual innuendos but that it was the complainant who started the incident with a pudding and he reciprocated with the sausage,” the WRC adjudicator said.

The WRC accepted the woman’s complaint over the sexual harassment claim in this incident. 

“I accept the complainant’s evidence that the employer partook in an incident with sexual innuendo which had the effect of violating her dignity and this section of her complaint succeeds,” it was noted.

With that in mind, the woman was awarded the sum of €2,000 compensation.

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