For three months a 29-year-old gay man in Ireland endured a series of homophobic slurs from a Christian coworker who referred to gay men as “fairies and f*gg*ts” and worse. The last straw, he claims, was a demeaning Grindr reference after he was fired.
“If we need him, we will find him on Grindr” the unnamed man claims in a stunning complaint filed with the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) last year.
The man claimed discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and said that he was “discriminatorily dismissed” from his job at a recruitment agency in the complaint filed last October. On Friday, the WRC issued a ruling and agreed the man had suffered harassment on the job, and ordered the unnamed company to pay him £8,000 (over $9,000) in damages. The WRC sided with the company, though, in finding the dismissal valid.
The unnamed man started work as a trainee recruiter in August 2018. It was his first job in the private sector and he immediately encountered inappropriate comments from a coworker.
“Don’t catch anything over the weekend,” the man recalls her saying.
Another time he claims she rejected the suggestion of holding a group outing at a local gay bar because it was “full of fairies and faggots.”
The most humiliating homophobic taunt of all, he claims, was the one she hurled he was preparing to leave the office for the last time.
“If we need him, we will find him on Grindr,” he claims she said in full view of the rest of the office.
The event left him physically ill and emotionally devastated, his complaint reads.
While not directly disputing all the former employee’s claims, the respondent company instead told the commission “the complainant had failed to establish a causal link between any of the alleged discriminatory treatment and his sexual orientation.” They also say the former employee repeatedly missed performance targets for locating suitable candidates. They point to an instance where "the complainant told the respondent that an interview candidate had been in a car crash and unable to attend an interview. The candidate subsequently denied talking to the complainant." They also dispute the former employee's claims of mental duress resulting in the need for medication, saying he had complained often of his emotional instability and difficulty dealing with his personal life.
The company went further, claiming the man had quit once before due to his poor job performance only to be talked out of it, then voluntarily resigned on the day in question stating he was "unhappy in the job and was troubled by personal issues which he was on medication to deal with."