Red Cow ordered to compensate server after manager called him ‘Chico’

The Red Cow Hotel has been ordered to pay €12,500 in restitution to a waiter after the hotel’s general manager started calling him ‘Chico’ during a hectic Christmas shift.

Filipe Ongaro has filed two complaints against the Red Cow Moran Hotel under the Equal Employment Act regarding the December 5, 2020 incident, alleging that the hotel discriminated against him because of his race and fired him the next day for complaining about it.

He told a Workplace Relations Committee hearing that he worked a busy reception on his second day on the job and brought food order slips to Colm Murphy, general manager of the hotel.

“While I was doing this he started calling me ‘Chico’ although he could clearly see my badge with my name on it at all times,” Mr Ongaro said.

His response was, “Excuse me, what did you call me?”

But he said Mr. Murphy kept repeating the word.

“I asked him not to talk to me like that and pointed out my name was Filipe but he dismissed my concerns and said he talks to everyone like that,” he said. .

Complaint

Mr Ongaro said he felt ‘very uncomfortable’ for the rest of the shift but had no one to complain to as Mr Murphy was in charge.

He said he complained to the recruitment agency who placed him in the hotel the next day and when he arrived at work that evening he was sent home.

“I feel like I was discriminated against because of my nationality, treated very unfairly and lost my job because I stood up for myself,” he said.

The Red Cow Moran Hotel, which was represented at the hearing by a human resources manager, apologized for the use of the term.

Mr Murphy told the hearing that he calls everyone ‘Chico’ and had no intention of offending or upsetting Mr Ongaro.

Offensive

He apologized and told the hearing that he didn’t know it was offensive then, but he does now. He said he used to use the term generally and is now “very embarrassed” about it.

The hotel submitted its written policies on eliminating discrimination, promoting diversity and its grievance process. However, adjudicating officer Brian Dalton said there was ‘no evidence’ that Mr Ongaro had gone through the hotel’s onboarding process, instead believing he was employed by the recruitment agency who placed him there.

A department manager testified that he asked Mr. Ongaro to come home the next day because he was so upset.

He said the complainant was being paid for the shift and it never occurred to anyone in the hotel management team that Mr Ongaro was terminated.

Mr Ongaro admitted he was very upset the next day and ‘distracted from doing his job’.

The hotel also provided evidence that he had been named to the shift roster for weeks 49, 50 and 51 of 2020.

In his decision, arbitrator Brian Dalton said: “There is no doubt that the term ‘Chico’ is offensive and is a pejorative term for people of Latin American descent.”

“In an employment context where the workforce is made up of many staff members from diverse backgrounds and different nationalities, such a term is in clear contradiction to the hotel’s stated policy,” it said. -he writes.

He said there was no factual dispute, but he had to consider the manager’s argument that he was using the term broadly.

“I do not find this defense credible,” he wrote. “The term ‘Chico’ on a balance of probabilities would not have been used to refer to a person of Irish descent,” he said, adding that Mr Ongaro had established a case of discrimination and that the red cow did not refute it.

However, he determined that the plaintiff was not fired the next day for filing the complaint and was not victimized.

He ordered the hotel to pay Mr. Ongaro €12,500 in compensation.

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