Two lesbian employees in Ireland have been awarded a total of 15,000 euros (£12,790) after suffering harassment and sexual harassment whilst working at a restaurant in Cork.

Ireland’s Equality Tribunal found that the employees, a lesbian couple, were subjected to a series of obscene remarks and questions about their relationship from another employee whilst working at a restaurant. The employer, Eddie Rocket’s City Diner, in Blackpool, Cork, was found not to have taken sufficient steps to protect the pair.

Davin Roche, director of workplace diversity at Ireland’s Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) said: “The decision shows how important it is to have an anti-harassment policy in place which clearly protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees. It is equally important to ensure that these policies are communicated to all.”

In his ruling, the director of the Equality Tribunal, Mr Niall McCutcheon, stated: “It is a duty on employers under the Acts to provide a workplace in which it is safe for lesbians and gay men to be open about their sexuality.”

There are approximately 170,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Irish workforce. Research has found that one quarter of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees surveyed had experienced verbal harassment on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity at some point in their careers.