Sunday 15 September 2019

Indian restaurant ordered to pay customer €3k after owner refused to serve him - because he was Indian

Ravi's Kitchen Pembroke Road
Ravi's Kitchen Pembroke Road

Gordon Deegan

An Indian restaurant in Dublin 4 has been ordered to pay a customer €3,000 after the owner refused to serve him – because he was Indian.

In the discrimination case before the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), adjudication officer Marie Flynn ordered Ravi’s Kitchen on Pembroke Road to pay Mayank Bhatnagar €3,000 in compensation.

Ms Flynn said that in making the award under the Equal Status Act, she was taking account of the embarrassment caused to Mr Bhatnagar when he was refused service in front of two subordinate colleagues.

In his evidence, Mr Bhatnagar alleged he was refused service on the grounds of race.

He said he went to Ravi’s Kitchen on July 10 last year with two colleagues and they were shown to a table by a waitress.

Mr Bhatnagar said that when the proprietor was handing out the menus, he asked him if it would take long as they had a limited time for lunch.

He alleged that, without answering his question, the owner asked him if he was Indian.

Mr Bhatnagar said that when he said he was, the owner said he did not serve Indians and Mr Bhatnagar had to leave.

He stated that when he asked the owner why he had to leave, he began to “shout out about how his family had suffered”.

Mr Bhatnagar said that as he and his colleagues got up to leave, the owner contin-

ued to shout and the waitress also shouted in their direction.

Neither the owner nor any representative from Ravi’s Kitchen attended the WRC hearing, and Ms Flynn said she was satisfied “that the respondent was properly on notice of the time, date and location of the adjudication hearing”.

However, owner Ravi Shukla told the Herald he did not att-end because he did not receive notification to appear.

He said he intended to appeal “and fight against this each and every step”.

Mr Shukla said he is from India himself and has never refused a customer service on the basis on their nationality.

He denied that he did not serve Mr Bhatnagar because he was Indian.

“I refused to serve him because he was unhappy with how long the lunch would take,” Mr Shukla said.

“It is a very one-sided ruling. I have lots of Indian customers and I have never refused them service because they are from India.

“I have worked across the world for 35 years and I have an impeccable record as always living on the right side of the law.”

In her findings, Ms Flynn said Mr Bhatnagar’s colleagues who were not of Indian origin were not refused service by the restaurant owner.

“I find, therefore, that the complainant has established a prima facie case of discriminatory treatment on the race ground,” she said.

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