Non-binary Applegreen worker asked if they were going to ‘get a d*ck’, hearing told

Mar Butler also alleged that co-workers and managers were aware that someone had nicknamed them “margarine”

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Anne-Marie WalshIndependent.ie

A non-binary worker claimed a colleague asked if they were going to “get a d*ck” before they were due to have surgery.

Mar Butler also alleged that co-workers and managers were aware that someone had nicknamed them “margarine” when they worked at an Applegreen service station.

They are taking a case against their employer, Petrogas Group, at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) ,alleging they were discriminated against on the grounds of gender.

Their solicitor, Barry Crushell, said the plaintiff began working for Applegreen in April 2019 and felt compelled to resign in May 2021 to protect their physical and mental well-being.

At the hearing yesterday, the plaintiff said they made multiple requests for colleagues to use “they” and “them” pronouns but felt like “sh*t” when they failed to do so.

They previously told adjudication officer Conor Stokes that they would prefer the gender-neutral title “Mx” as a form of address.

Mx Butler said people were aware that they were going for surgery and said someone asked if they were going to go and get a “d*ck”.

The worker, who was a supervisor, said they mentioned it to the operations manager. They claimed the manager just “kind of laughed it off” and said some people are immature.

Co-workers and managers would have been aware that people were using nicknames for them, Mx Butler said.

They said they would have been aware that they did not appreciate those nicknames.

Mx Butler said someone had taken to calling them “margarine”. They said this took place in an open-plan kitchen and would have been shouted across the kitchen.

They said they directly asked the person to stop.

Mx Butler said they were confident that this occurred on a daily basis if not every second day between July and September in 2020.

They said at a routine staff meeting on April 12, 2021, they had made it clear to people they worked with that they wanted people to use “they/them” pronouns.

They said this opened up a discussion and people were “providing excuses”.

Mx Butler said some people said they were older, of a different generation, or that they were from the country, or just did not understand it.

The plaintiff said they were so upset by the situation that they started to cry in the Applegreen lobby in front of customers.

Mx Butler said they told colleagues that they found it disgusting that they had essentially begged them to use their pronouns and they still refused to do so. They said instead of apologising, they just provided excuses.

Mx Butler said they went for “a smoke”, and a supervisor came out and said they did not understand why it was such a big issue for them.

They said they approached a manager, referred to as Mr A, to inform him that it was making them more uncomfortable in April 2021.

Mx Butler said even when educational material was offered, colleagues and management refused to educate themselves. They said it was distressing to work in a place like this and felt “horrific”.

Mr Crushell claimed the respondent was aware of the alleged harassment that Mx Butler faced and took no meaningful action to address it. He claimed they faced social exclusion and isolation as a consequence of choosing to transition and identify as non-binary.

The hearing was adjourned.

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