Northern Ireland

Co Armagh man with autism wins £8,000 settlement in disability discrimination case against chip shop

Oisín McKerr was supported by the Equality Commission in his case against Mak’s Plaice, Magheralin

Oisín McKerr took the case against Mak’s Plaice, Magheralin. PICTURE:ARTHUR ALLISON/PACEMAKER PRESS

A chip shop worker with autism has settled a disability discrimination case for £8,000 against his former Co Armagh employers.

Oisín McKerr started his first part-time job at Mak’s Plaice in Magheralin in 2022.

He said he declared that he lives with autism on his application and was delighted to be offered the job.

Just months later, in January 2023, Mr McKerr was told it was a quiet time for the shop, and he might get more hours in March.

But the next week he received a text message to pick up his final pay cheque and return his uniform.

Mr McKerr said he was left confused and did not realise he had been dismissed from his job.

“I thought I was doing well. I didn’t know there were any problems, nobody told me,” he said.

“I didn’t know I had been dismissed.

“I was really upset when I realised I wouldn’t be working there anymore and saw they were recruiting new people.

“I wish they had spoken to me and explained it. I would have listened; I would have done as they asked.

“I wasn’t given the chance to explain my autism and to improve.”

Oisín McKerr and his mother Charlene McKerr.
Oisín McKerr and his mother Charlene McKerr. PICTURE:ARTHUR ALLISON/PACEMAKER PRESS

Mr McKerr was supported by the Equality Commission in taking his case, which was settled without admission of liability.

The commission said the company “affirmed its commitment to the principle of equality of opportunity in employment”.

It also agreed to liaise with the commission to “review its equal opportunities policies, procedures and practices”.

The commission said that “the company regrets any injury to feelings, distress or upset felt by Oisín”.

Mary Kitson from the Equality Commission said “employees with autism have protections under the Disability Discrimination Act”.

“Employers are required to make reasonable adjustments to remove barriers to the recruitment and employment of people with disabilities,” she said.

“Oisín says that his employer did not talk to him about his autism or raise any issues about his performance.

“Nor did they inform him that he was being dismissed.

“Oisín deserved to be treated with dignity and respect at all stages of his employment.


“Good support from any employer is key to successful employment for a person with autism and effective communication is central to this support,” she added.

“If this approach had been taken, Oisín may have had the opportunity to keep his job.”

Mr McKerr added: “I’m glad this is all over now and I’ve found a new job where I do feel supported and valued”.