Man who said he was racially discriminated against by Eir chief executive over his African accent loses claim

A man who claimed he was racially discriminated against during a phone call from Eir because of his African accent has failed in his complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission.

Eyma Ayoade, an international student at Dublin Business School, claimed to have contacted an Eir store on Monday February 15, 2021 to inquire about broadband for his home in Walkinstown, Dublin 12.

He said the store manager at Eir in Crumlin told him the store didn’t sell WiFi and told him not to call the number again, after which the call was dropped.

He stated he was “stunned” and his calls back had gone unanswered, showing an intention to treat him differently because of his race as his accent is African.

Mr Ayoade claimed the person who took his call discriminated against him by refusing to provide the service, which violated his basic human right not to be denied service because of his race.

Audrey Sexton, the manager, said she received a call around 9.20am while she was going about various other duties. She said the call was “terrible and really bad quality” and she couldn’t hear much from the conversation.

Ms Sexton said that from the snippets of what she heard, she thought it was a sales pitch and that someone was trying to sell the business’ broadband.

Ms Sexton said she repeatedly said she couldn’t hear them properly and told them the line was too bad.

When the call quality got too bad, she hung up and went back to her daily chores. Ms Sexton said if Mr Ayoade had left a voice message she would have called him back.

Defendant’s representative, Financial Controller Maria Burke, stated that Mr Ayoade made phone records but some of the fonts were in a different format and not organized by date.

She said the alleged evidence of the call to the store did not show that it was called three times on Feb. 15, as alleged, and that the phone records did not include the Crumlin store number anywhere on the filed document.

Ms Burke said Ms Sexton was “a loyal, honest and very trustworthy employee. In all her time she has served thousands of clients of different nationalities, disabilities and backgrounds and she has never had a single complaint against them.”

Ms Burke explained that because Ms Sexton was a sales rep, every sale she made earned her extra commission and she would never turn down a broadband sale.

Ms Sexton had stated on numerous occasions that the call was of poor quality and that she could not hear Mr Ayoade properly and could not know the background of the person on the phone.

Mr Ayoade stated that he was at college this Monday 15 February and could not make a phone call to the shop, having moved to the area a few days earlier having moved to Ireland three years ago and that he wasn’t used to voice mail.

In her decision, Adjudicating Officer Caroline Reidy wrote: “Mere speculation or allegation unsupported by evidence cannot be established as a basis of fact on which to infer discrimination.

“I think there was no discrimination in this case. The complainant called the store, the line was of poor quality, there was no conclusion or evidence of discrimination in relation to the evidence presented and the store manager who testified on behalf of the interviewee was very credible in that regard.” Man who said he was racially discriminated against by Eir chief executive over his African accent loses claim

Fry Electronics Team

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