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Blog  »  May 2017  »  €7,500 Awarded to Disabled Worker Mocked on Social Media - Blog
29
May 17

Posted by
Lauren Conway

€7,500 Awarded to Disabled Worker Mocked on Social Media

A disabled employee for Mr. Price Branded Bargains has been awarded €7,500 by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in a discrimination case brought by him under the Employment Equality Act when it was found a store manager had shared three recordings of the employee on a staff WhatsApp group for the enjoyment of colleagues.

The unnamed sales assistant was made aware of the recordings on 1 December 2015, by an employee who had by then left the company. He became traumatized and had to go on work-related stress leave and hasn’t returned to work since.

In defense, Mr. Price argued that one recording showed the complainant conversing with a customer and a second recording showed him behaving in a manner on the shop floor, which posed a health and safety risk for himself and others.

Finding

The Adjudication Officer in the case, Ray Flaherty, found that three video recordings of the man at work were shared by the shop manager for fun with staff "who had no operational need or entitlement to review the material".

“It is clear from viewing the recordings that not only was the complainant discriminated against on the grounds of his disability, but his basic right, and that of any employee, able or disabled, to the provision of dignity at work was seriously undermined.”

Learning Points

Under no circumstances should the mocking of an employee be condoned in the workplace - that goes without saying. In this case as the manager shared the video footage via WhatsApp, and the fact that the employee that reported the videos only did so after they had left the company, highlights the importance for employers to have a social media policy in place detailing what is or is not acceptable, and how to report any breaches of a policy as soon as they happen.