A gay man who was continually harassed by a work colleague has been awarded €27,000 on the grounds of his sexual orientation.  The complainant told the WRC that the comments were aimed at him on a daily fashion and there was constant sniggering and juvenile stereotypical references made in his company, all of which made him feel under threat and humiliated.  The man said that it was well known in the company that he was gay, and he suffered direct discrimination as a result of his sexual orientation.  He said it was the most hostile work environment he had ever worked in.  He said his mental health was suffering incredibly, to such an extent, that he was treated for depression and ended up in a hospital A&E department with panic attacks. The complainant stated that his own team leader intervened and defended him on many occasions.  The WRC said the employer had discriminated against the man on the grounds of his sexual orientation and the complainant had been harassed.  The WRC went on to say the unwanted conduct at the workplace, relating to the complainant’s sexual orientation, “had the purpose and effect of violating his dignity”. “It has without doubt created an intense, hostile, humiliating and offensive environment for him in the workplace”.  “It had a great burden on his physical and mental health where he was hospitalised.” The WRC said the employer had not mounted a defence that it took steps to prevent the harassment and is therefore liable for the harassment suffered by the complainant.

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