Gay restaurant worker and husband win £120k from homophobic chef

Tim Jeurninck and his partner Marco Scatena were

Tim Jeurninck and his partner Marco Scatena were “bullied for months” at the London eatery (Image: Shutterstock/Lord Beard)

A gay restaurant worker and his husband have won more than £120,000 after their homophobic boss called him a ‘waitress’.

Tim Jeurninck and his partner Marco Scatena were “bullied for months” at their workplace in London.

The ongoing insults included “constant insults,” a labor court heard.

Mr. Jeurninck was also branded a “f***** faggot” in Italian at some points.

Restaurant manager Mr Scatena – who was a partner in the company – also received “insulting” messages from his fellow directors – which included threats of violence and baseless allegations that he had stolen from the register.

After both resigned, the couple sued London eatery Piatto for discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The panel ruled in their favor and said directors had tried to put Mr Scatena out of business – with “more than enough evidence” to suggest he was gay.

Mr Jeurninck – who worked as a waiter – and Mr Scatena were awarded compensation of £41,732 and £83,102 respectively.

Piatto Restaurant - Battersea

Both men worked at Piatto Restaurant in Battersea, London (Image: Google Maps)

The tribunal, held in south London, heard director Vincenzo Cugno Garrano had previously spoken to Mr Scatena about the two Italian nationals opening a restaurant together.

Mr Scatena subsequently invested “all his personal money” as well as a bank loan and a loan from his husband’s parents, making him a 30 per cent shareholder of the restaurant, which opened on Battersea Park Road in January 2018.

Despite his shares as one of the four directors, the panel heard that Mr. Scatena has never received a dividend payment.

Mr Jeurninck and Mr Scatena, who married in 2017, began working at Piatto in January 2018, but between June and September the couple were “on the receiving end” of homophobic “slurs”.

In June 2018, Fabio Corona – another director – “yelled” at Mr Jeurninck, calling him a “waitress” while laughing.

The panel heard that when Mr Jeurninck protested at being called a waitress, one of Mr Corona’s friends called him a “fucking faggot” in Italian and said: “Oh, your waitress is very rude”.

In July 2018, Mr Jeurninck said the “threats, insinuations and psychological abuse” continued when Mr Cugno Garrano “yelled at him” when he told him the kitchen staff were looking for him.

He then phoned Mr Jeurninck, saying his family in Italy was “the mafia” and “could harm his husband’s family” before making a hand gesture “indicating he would be killed”.

Piatto Restaurant - Battersea

Mr Jeurninck was branded a ‘F***** faggot’ during his time at the restaurant (Image: Google Maps)

The panel heard Mr Cugno Garrano come upstairs with a cleaned glass in July and said: “I thought you (gays) knew how to clean better.”

When Mr Jeurninck protested, he replied: ‘I am a real man, unlike you. I won’t let a little fag talk to me like that’ and spat at him.

He resigned in December 2018, claiming he had not received his wages since March 2018.

On April 25, 2019, Mr Scatena also resigned, saying he had been “bullied for months”.

Labor judge Alexander Green ruled that the couple were not only wrongly dismissed, but had also been directly discriminated against because of their sexuality.

Regarding Mr Scatena’s claim, he said: “We believe there was an ongoing campaign, motivated by homophobic behaviour, to put him out of business.

“There are two reasons why Piatta tried to push him out. Either because they didn’t like him or because he was a gay man.

“We’ve seen more than enough evidence to support the latter in terms of abusive and persistent homophobic behavior. It would be perverse to find anything else.

“Mr Jeurninck and Mr Scatena have demonstrated that, because of their sexual orientation, they suffered from undesirable behavior aimed at violating their dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, degrading or offensive environment for them.

“They were obviously deeply offended and threatened by the behavior. They found they were being harassed because of their sexual orientation.”

At an appeal hearing, Mr Jeurninck was awarded £41,732.30, of which £28,000 for hurting feelings through discrimination, and Mr Scatena was awarded £83,102.66 – with £36,000 for hurting feelings.

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Justin Scacco

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