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Dublin: 8 °C Friday 18 October, 2019

Traveller woman who sustained fractured wrist loses discrimination case against fast food outlet

The woman claims she overheard a member of staff say to another, ‘Don’t worry about her, she is just an itinerant’.

Image: Golf bress via Shutterstock

A HOMELESS MEMBER of the Traveller community who had her wrist fractured following an alleged incident with a security guard at a fast food restaurant has had a discrimination case dismissed.

The case before the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) heard that she was pushed to the floor twice and sustained a fracture of the wrist and bruising on 22 March 2017.

The woman, who is also visually impaired and is accompanied by a guide dog, claims she made her way to the service counter after the alleged assault and overheard a member of staff say to another, ‘Don’t worry about her, she is just an itinerant’ and that she was refused service.

The basis for her complaint of discrimination was over this remark and the alleged refusal to serve her in the restaurant.

In response, the restaurant denies that its staff were aware of that the complainant was a member of the Traveller community.

It also says that after the incident involving the security guard, the complainant did not proceed to the service counter.

The manager gave evidence that the security guard stopped the woman twice and told her she was not being admitted. The manager said that as far as he was aware, she did not make it to the counter.

WRC Adjudication Officer Pat Brady acknowledged that a dispute with the security guard took place but added that there “is no independent corroboration of the remark”.

It is not in dispute that the incident involving the security guard did take place … she was pushed to the floor twice. She sustained a fracture of the wrist and bruising.

However he said “this is not the incident giving rise to the complaint of discrimination”.

“The complainant was a credible witness, but in these particular circumstances I do not consider it sufficient simply to proceed to a finding based on her word alone.”

He also said there appears to be some confusion as to who made the discriminatory comment – a member of the service team employed by the respondent or the security guard.

“There was no suggestion at the hearing that the comment was made twice, or by different people.

Having considered all of the submissions carefully, I find insufficient evidence of the alleged facts from which to draw safe conclusions about the alleged discrimination.

Brady also pointed out that the security guard was not a direct employee of the restaurant, but an employee of a contract security company.

“The Operations Manager described the security guard’s actions as ‘unacceptable and unprofessional’ and he undertook to ensure that the individual would never again work in any of their restaurants,” the adjudication officer said.

The woman has taken a separate personal injuries claim in relation to the incident with the security guard.

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