Bus company paying out thousands after driver allegedly called Instagram influencer a ‘f****t’
Dublin Bus has been ordered to pay €7,500 in compensation after a driver allegedly hurled homophobic slurs at a gay passenger.
The passenger, who is an Instagram influencer with 75,000 followers, claimed that the driver called him a “faggot” and a “schizo” and told him “go on you queer” on different occasions in 2017 and 2018.
He said that the distressing and unwanted abuse he was subjected to had the effect of “violating his dignity” and creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading and offensive environment on board the bus.
Defending the driver, Dublin Bus admitted to a Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) that relations between the driver and passenger had become confrontational, but denied that those specific terms were used.
The bus operator said it had investigated the complaints but deemed that no disciplinary action should be taken against the driver, and instead raised concern about the passenger’s behaviour.
They complained that the passenger had filmed the driver from the pavement as he finished his shift and shouted about the alleged abuse to passersby.
The driver said that he felt so threatened by the passenger videoing him that he had to go on sick leave for three months and reported the incident to police. He is still waiting on the outcome of that complaint.
However, WRC adjudication officer Roger McGrath judged that “the interactions with the driver took place as described by the complainant”.
He found the homophobic terms were indeed used, and that the passenger had been subjected to harassment on the grounds of sexual orientation.
McGrath added that respect between the passenger and driver was “sadly lacking”. His decision to award €7,500 in compensation took into account the stress suffered by the passenger and the protracted nature of the difficulties encountered.
A spokesperson for Dublin Bus said simply that it had “noted” the WRC outcome.