An Asian woman was awarded €8,000 ($9,200) in compensation after a male colleague asked if she enjoyed chomping on cat and dog meat.
The incident occurred on July 27 of last year, just a month after the woman started working for an accounting firm in Ireland.
“I heard cats and dogs are the main meat sources of Asians, so do you like eating them?” the senior colleague asked.
The next day, the woman’s reporting manager found her crying and learned about the incident, as well as some other troubling occurrences. Fellow colleagues promised to settle the situation informally, resulting to the offender making an apology.
The woman, who resigned on November 10, accepted her colleague’s apology, according to the Irish Independent.
However, the incident reached the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), which recently ordered the accounting firm to award her €8,000 ($9,200). She reported that she was offended by her colleague’s words.
During the investigation, the commission also heard that the same colleague had taken her photos without consent and sent them to friends. At one point, she saw one of his friends calling her a “cute chink.”
There were other occasions before the incident when the woman felt degraded, according to BreakingNews.ie.
On June 23, the same colleague asked her about her weekend plans. When she replied that she was going to a nightclub with friends, her colleague responded, “I might look for a girl that night because that could be what I’m into.”
Then on June 30, the same colleague attended to a man who knocked at their office window. He then pointed at her, saying, “That’s the one Stephen shifted last night.”
Jim Dolan, adjudication officer at the WRC, determined the woman’s complaint as “well-founded.”
They concluded that she was a victim of discrimination on gender, sexual orientation, and race. In addition, they ruled that she was harassed and sexually harassed by the same colleague.
To prevent similar incidents in the future, Dolan recommended that the company develop policies to address harassment and discrimination in the workplace.