Bouncer accused of pushing trans woman down stairs loses unfair dismissal case against The George

A former bouncer at The George nightclub has lost his case claiming unfair dismissal after he allegedly pushed a trans woman down stairs.

The image shows the from of the George nightclub where a former bouncer has brought an unfair dismissal case. The image shows a double fronted building with multiple windows. It has neon lights over the top of the building.
Image: @The George Bar via Facebook

The Work Relations Commission (WRC) has dismissed a claim by a former bouncer at The George that he was fired after supposedly pushing a trans woman down the stairs.

Ellison Silva dos Santos asserted that he was sacked by the Dublin LGBTQ+ bar’s general manager two days after an altercation had taken place between him and a customer on the night of June 28, 2023.

In a claim made under the Unfair Dismissals Act 1977, the bouncer testified that the customer in question had thrown herself down the stairs “to create a drama”, resulting in his dismissal by the Mercantile Group, who own The George. 

At the WRC hearing on January 17, 2024, Silva dos Santos delivered his evidence via an interpreter. He asserted that he had approached the customer believing she had had “too much to drink”. When he asked her to follow him to another location so they could speak, he maintained that she had initially complied but then “went the other direction”. 

On behalf of Silva dos Santos, the interpreter added, “The client didn’t like and slapped him in the face. After slapped in the face, he grabbed her arm and conducted her downstairs. She was trying to fight to him, but she don’t fall too much because he was holding her” (sic). The bouncer also claimed that she then tried to kick him twice while she was on the floor.

The interpreter went on to explain what happened when the duty manager arrived at the scene, saying, “He tell everything. The manager screamed at him, asking him to leave the situation and just go out.”

During the hearing, Silva dos Santos disagreed over how his subsequent meeting with Darragh Flynn, the general manager, had played out. He claimed that during the meeting he was told, “You are fired.” However, Flynn denied this. He suggested that the employee arrived at the meeting and stated, “Either I’m working tonight, or I’m fired.”

Flynn also said he had concerns Silva dos Santos had been “over-aggressive” in his handling of the situation and that he hadn’t followed the duty manager’s instructions after the incident. He said he understood that the bouncer had also left work early without permission and that he had explained all of these concerns to him during their meeting.

He maintained he was fired two days later by the bar’s general manager, who said he was not happy to allow Mr Silva Dos Santos to continue working at the venue.

The Mercantile Group, which also owns Nolita cocktail bar on George’s Street and Opium nightclub on Wexford Street, asserted that following the incident, it had rostered the bouncer for shifts elsewhere in its business and had even included him for shifts at The George. Despite this, they said he had failed to show up for shifts assigned to him.

The group also alleged that he had used the incident as an “opportunity to get compensatory payment”.

Yesterday, February 28, having reviewed all the evidence, including CCTV footage of the incident, a letter from the group to Silva dos Santos, and the testimonies, the WRC adjudicator Marie Flynn published her ruling in favour of the employers.

In her decision, she noted that the warning letter was “indicative of an ongoing relationship rather than a relationship that has been terminated”.

She also noted the contents of a series of text exchanges between the complainant and a security manager in July 2023, which included messages telling the bouncer he had been “transferred out of the George to work in the other venues across the company” and “You were not fired from the Mercantile Group”.

She concluded that the evidence suggested to her that, in all likelihood, the worker “was not dismissed on 30 June 2023 as he has alleged,” and she deemed that his complaint was “not well founded”.

© 2024 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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