Couple who endured months of homophobic abuse at restaurant awarded £120,000

02 December 2022 by
Couple who endured months of homophobic abuse at restaurant awarded £120,000

A restaurant manager and his husband have been awarded more than £120,000 after suffering months of homophobic abuse while working at a London restaurant.

An employment tribunal heard that Tim Jeurninck and Marco Scatena faced regular homophobic slurs as well as threats of violence while working at Piatto restaurant in Battersea, which has since gone into voluntary liquidation.

Scatena was a director of the business and restaurant manager from January 2018 until he resigned in April 2019. He alleged that he suffered threats of violence and had a chair thrown at him by fellow director Vincenzo Cugno Garrano during a discussion concerning cashflow.

A witness confirmed to the tribunal that Jeurninck, who worked as a waiter, and Scatena were frequently referred to in derogatory terms, and that other directors had discussed removing Scatena.

Messages sent by fellow directors revealed a plan to falsely accuse him of stealing from the business.

The trial heard Jeurninck was referred to as a "waitress" and told "I thought you people knew how to clean better", in reference to a smeared glass.

When he objected to his treatment Cugno Garrano allegedly said his family were in the mafia and they could harm Scatena's family in Italy, before making a hand gesture insinuating that he would be killed.

Jeurninck had told the tribunal that this incident had seen his heart rate increase rapidly, which saw him undergo tests in hospital.

Both complainants told the tribunal they suffered with anxiety and stress during and following their time at Piatto.

Scatena said he was "devastated to lose a job in the business I created". He told the tribunal that he had invested all his personal money in the restaurant as well as a bank loan and a loan from his husband's parents.

Jeurnick resigned as a result of his treatment in December 2018.

The tribunal ruled that the complainants had suffered "offensive and sustained homophobic behaviour" and wrongful dismissal, Jeurninck was awarded £41,732.30 and Scatena £83,102.66.

Piatto contested the claim but was not represented at a virtual hearing.

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