A black Nigerian national who was allegedly labeled a chimpanzee and subjected to monkey noises by his team leader here has received € 30,000 for racial discrimination.
At the Labor Court, Vice President Alan Haugh ordered the recruitment company CPL Solutions Ltd operating under the name Flexsource Recruitment to pay the € 30,000 to temporary worker Victor Kings Oluebube for racial discrimination under the Employment Act. equality in employment.
At the time of the two alleged racist incidents, Mr Kings Oluebube was assigned by the Dublin-based company, CPL Solutions Ltd, to Kuehne & Nagel as a warehouse operator.
Mr. Haugh ordered the human resources company CPL Solutions to pay the € 30,000 after finding that the company “is vicariously liable for the harassment in question”.
Mr. Haugh stated that with respect to the seriousness of the harassment and the effects it had on Mr. Kings Oluebube, the remedy for Mr. Kings Oluebube should be dissuasive and proportionate to the harm suffered by him.
The compensation of € 30,000 is equivalent to approximately 63 weeks of gross salary.
Mr Haugh said CPL Solutions was unable to avail itself of legal defenses against racial harassment under employment equality laws after hearing evidence that no action had been taken. taken to reverse the effects of racial harassment suffered by Mr. Kings Oluebube.
Mr Haugh also said that CPL Solutions was unable to avail itself of a separate defense against the discrimination claim because of what the employment tribunal called “a very straightforward employer policy in bullying and harassment “and the” ad hoc approach “taken by a Flexsource staff member to investigating the allegations of Mr. Kings Oluebube.
The labor court ruling overturned an earlier ruling by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) which dismissed Mr Kings Oluebube’s complaint of racial discrimination.
The WRC referee in June 2020 found that CPL Solutions was able to avail itself of a defense under employment equality laws by showing that it had taken steps to reverse the effects of the harassment and prevent it from happening again.
As a result, the WRC stated that CPL Solutions did not harass Mr. Kings Oluebube on the race course.
The case was taken to the labor court following an appeal by Mr Kings Oluebube against the WRC decision.
The alleged racial harassment stems from two incidents.
On a date in late February 2019 at the workplace, Mr Kings Oluebube alleged that his team leader called him a chimpanzee and made monkey noises while imitating a monkey’s gestures in front of several colleagues.
Mr. Kings Oluebube did not report this incident at the time.
On May 21, 2019, the team leader allegedly repeated the same racist abuse towards Mr. Kings Oluebube in the presence of other colleagues.
Mr. Kings Oluebube informed the warehouse manager of the allegations of racist abuse, who in turn informed CPL Solutions.
CPL Solutions investigated the two alleged racist incidents and the complaints of harassment on the race ground were upheld and the team leader received a final written warning.
Mr. Kings Oluebube requested in writing the details of the outcome of the investigation.
In response, the CPL staff member who conducted the investigation said she wanted to make it clear that Flexsource does not endorse in any way what happened between Mr. Kings Oluebube and his co-worker.
She said Flexsource was very sorry that Mr. Kings Oluebube had to bear “the brunt of this situation”.
She said: “I would also add, at the beginning, when this was first brought to Flexsource’s attention, you said that you (the team leader) would like to receive a warning, and you wanted that. it remains informal. You then changed your mind as the investigation was halfway through to say that you sought legal advice.
“Flexsource organized the official investigation meeting and followed the whole process. “
The witness from CPL Solutions confirmed that neither Mr. Kings Oluebube nor his colleagues had received any training on the prevention of bullying and harassment in the workplace.
Mr. Haugh said the CPL Solutions investigator did not provide Mr. Kings Oluebube with a warrant or schedule for his investigation.
He added that she did not give Mr. Kings Oluebube a view of the witness statements she had obtained and that she did not give him an opportunity to respond to anything said by the author. of the alleged harassment.
Mr. Haugh testified that the CPL Solutions investigator merely informed Mr. Kings Oluebube verbally in general that she had completed her investigation, upheld her complaints and that the alleged perpetrator had been sanctioned.