An Indian restaurant in Dublin has been ordered to pay €3,000 (£2,745) by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) after it observed that the restaurant owner refused a man service because he was an Indian.
The discrimination case was filed by Mayank Bhatnagar before WRC. He told the commission that he had entered Ravi’s Kitchen in July last year, with the intention of having lunch with two colleagues.
He claimed he asked the restaurant’s owner, who was handing out menus, how long the lunch would take because the group had a limited time, according to The Irish Times.
The customer alleged Ravi Shukla, the owner, then asked him if he was an Indian.
Mr. Bhatnagar claimed the proprietor said he did not serve Indians and asked him to leave.
He also claimed that Mr. Shukla began shouting about how his family had suffered before the group left.
His evidence was uncontested and Ravi Shukla, who is from northern India, told The Irish Times he had not received a notification to appear.
However, during the hearing Marie Flynn, the WRC judge, said she was satisfied that “the respondent was properly on notice of the time, date and location of the adjudication hearing.”
Ms. Flynn then proceeded to rule, on the basis of Mr. Bhatnagar’s uncontested evidence that the customer had been discriminated against on the basis of race, contrary to the Equal Status Acts.
“I am satisfied that he has established that he was treated less favourably than a person who was not Indian would be treated in a comparable situation,” she said adding that “I find therefore that the complainant has established a prima facie case of discriminatory treatment on the race ground.”
The judge said, “Once the complainant has established a prima facie case, the burden of proof then shifts to the respondent.”
As Mr. Shukla was not present at the hearing, the evidence was not challenged.
The restaurant owner said he intended to appeal the ruling and said he was from India himself.
“I refused to serve him because he was unhappy with how long the lunch would take and he wanted a buffet and we didn’t have a buffet,” he 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,” he further added.