Monday 16 January 2017

Cook deliberately 'cremated' chicken orders, court told

Greg Harkin

Published 24/09/2015 | 02:30

A café owner told a member of staff he would have fired her sooner if she hadn't been pregnant
A café owner told a member of staff he would have fired her sooner if she hadn't been pregnant

A café owner told a member of staff he would have fired her sooner if she hadn't been pregnant, a tribunal has been told.

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Giles McGee then told the cook to collect her P45 "and join the dole queue", a solicitor told the hearing. Sheree Young is suing Mr McGee, owner of Charley's Café in Letterkenny, for unfair dismissal.

Mr McGee has alleged that the mother of three deliberately "cremated" chicken orders and under-cooked fish at the Co Donegal café for three weeks when she returned from maternity leave in January 2013.

He told a previous hearing he only fired Ms Young because he feared his customers would get food poisoning if he didn't.

However, giving evidence yesterday at the final day of the hearing at a Letterkenny hotel, Ms Young refuted the claims.

Dessie Shiels, solicitor for Mr McGee, produced diary notes taken by his client in January 2013 which, he claimed, noted faults in Ms Young's cooking.

On January 30 it was alleged Ms Young had burnt two fried eggs - Mr McGee noted: "Can't even fry an egg'," said Mr Shiels.

"This was a catalogue of errors, my client would say deliberate errors or sabotage. He believes you being an experienced chef would not be somebody who is incompetent," Mr Shiels said to Ms Young.

However, the cook responded: "I was never spoken about these incidents because they didn't happen. He (Mr McGee) didn't go through this catalogue of so-called errors with me."

Her solicitor Cathal Quinn said Ms Young was taken into Mr McGee's office where the café owner allegedly told her: "I would have got rid of you before but you were pregnant with high-blood pressure."

When Ms Young had asked what she would do next, Mr McGee had allegedly responded: "You can get your P45 and join the dole queue."

The Employment Appeals Tribunal reserved judgment.

Irish Independent

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