HIV positive waiter awarded €3,000 after hotel refused to facilitate shorter working day

A waiter who is HIV positive and lasted only three days in his new job has been awarded €3,000 in a discrimination case.

HIV positive waiter awarded €3,000 after hotel refused to facilitate shorter working day

A waiter who is HIV positive and lasted only three days in his new job has been awarded €3,000 in a discrimination case.

This follows the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) ordering a hotel to pay the €3,000 to the waiter after finding that it discriminated against the man on the grounds of his disability.

WRC Adjudication Officer Orla Jones made the finding over the hotel’s failure to make proper accommodation for the man’s disability.

The man commenced work at the hotel on February 26, 2018, and had resigned his post two days later, on February 28, over the hotel’s refusal to allow the man to work shorter hours.

In the case, the man alleges that after he requested to work shorter hours as he found the work very tiring due to his medical condition, his boss, a restaurant manager, told him: “those are the hours and we cannot make exceptions”.

The man told a WRC hearing that starting at 9am for the breakfast shift and finishing at 11pm that night with only a four-hour break in between meant he was very tired and was struggling to take his medication correctly.

On his second day at work on February 27, 2018, the man advised a colleague that he was too tired to work a roster which required him to work through breakfast, lunch, and dinner shifts, and that he had assumed that he would be rostered to work two out of three of those shifts and not all three.

The waiter was allowed leave work early on February 27 over his tiredness and he was advised to speak with the restaurant manager the following day over his concerns.

At the meeting with the restaurant manager on February 28, the man said that he told his boss at that point that he was HIV positive in the hope that his employer would discuss reasonable adjustments which could be made to the work schedule to enable him to do the job.

The man commenced work at the hotel on February 26, 2018, and had not disclosed his condition prior to getting the job.

The man told the WRC that he didn’t tell his new employer about being HIV positive as he was too embarrassed.

HIV is a sexually transmitted disease and symptoms include fatigue, fever, weight loss, and shingles.

The man stated that the work pattern meant that he would struggle to take his medication at the required times.

The man made the complaint about the long hours and his difficulties in dealing with the roster because of his disability and finding the hours too tiring.

The waiter told his boss that he felt that he had to resign on February 28.

Ms Jones, of the WRC, said she was satisfied that once the employer was aware that the reason for resigning was due to the man’s disability and due to the tiredness he was experiencing, it was at that point obliged to make further enquiries into the extent of the disability and to ascertain whether he might be able to do the job if he was afforded reasonable accommodation for his disability.

She stated:

“Accordingly, I am satisfied that the complainant was discriminated against by the respondent in respect of a failure to provide him with reasonable accommodation for his disability.”

Ms Jones stated that in making her award, “I must ensure that the award is effective, proportionate, and dissuasive”.

Ms Jones said that the compensation of €3,000 to be just and equitable in the present circumstances.

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