Tuesday 22 August 2017

€160,000 award for dismissed 'employee from hell'

'Due to the unhappy working environment and the effect on her health, she said she was left with no alternative but to lodge a formal grievance in the matter ranging from complaints of a bullying nature and issues regarding the safety of the work environment' (stock photo)
'Due to the unhappy working environment and the effect on her health, she said she was left with no alternative but to lodge a formal grievance in the matter ranging from complaints of a bullying nature and issues regarding the safety of the work environment' (stock photo)

Gordon Deegan

An office manager who was wrongly portrayed as "an employee from hell" by her employer has been awarded just under €160,000 for her unfair dismissal.

This is one of the Workplace Relations Commission's highest awards to date, awarding €159,705 for the office manager's sacking in July of last year.

The woman had provided unstinting loyalty to her employer - a small, family-run drugs company - for over 30 years.

However, her work-life went downhill after her boss died and his wife took an active role in the running of the business.

Adjudication officer in the case, Michael Hayes, said that "it is simply not credible that the complainant turned into the employee from hell as submitted by the respondent having given 30 years of unimpeachable service".

No parties are named in the ruling and the woman has been given the award under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, which penalises employers who unfairly dismiss employees.

In her complaint, the woman said that she helped the widow of her late boss in running the business, "but despite her best efforts she found her working relationship with the now major shareholder difficult".

Due to the unhappy working environment and the effect on her health, she said she was left with no alternative but to lodge a formal grievance in the matter ranging from complaints of a bullying nature and issues regarding the safety of the work environment. As a direct result, the woman was dismissed from her employment by letter on July 11, 2016.

In response, the woman's employer claimed she was not penalised under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act but rather as a consequence of a breakdown in the relationship between her and the principal employer.

Irish Independent

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