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Wednesday 17 September 2014

Doorman weeps as he tells of dismissal from Four Seasons

Published 27/02/2013 | 04:00

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Hans Lomulder pictured leaving the Employment Appeals Tribunal on Adelaide Road yesterday.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th February 2013.
Hans Lomulder pictured leaving the Employment Appeals Tribunal on Adelaide Road yesterday. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th February 2013.
Caitriona Brannigan and Finance Director John Jennings (Right of pic) from the Four Seasons  leaving the Employment Appeals Tribunal on Adelaide Road yesterday.
Pic Steve Humphreys
26th February 2013.
Caitriona Brannigan and Finance Director John Jennings (Right of pic) from the Four Seasons leaving the Employment Appeals Tribunal on Adelaide Road yesterday. Pic Steve Humphreys 26th February 2013.

A FORMER doorman at a five-star hotel broke down and wept as he told how being dismissed from his job had "taken the heart" out of him.

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Hans Lomulder was sacked from the Four Seasons Hotel in Dublin's Ballsbridge on August 17, 2011, following two separate complaints from guests that he had been rude and discourteous.

An Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) heard the Dutch native had worked at the hotel for 11 years, earning a salary of €390 a week but in "the good times" reaping €500 in tips.

After his dismissal, he worked for seven months at the Clarence Hotel in Dublin city centre and had been about to set up a pub and restaurant business in the UK when his business partner tragically took his own life.

Since then, he has not worked and is currently living in a friend's attic in the Netherlands.

Catriona Brannigan of the hotel's human resources division revealed how Mr Lomulder received a written warning following an incident in December 2010. In 2006, there was another alleged incident where he had "put his hand down the back of a lady's dress".

However, these claims did not relate to the current case and were not the reason why Mr Lomulder was dismissed, she said.

The tribunal heard that he had lost his job as a result of two separate incidents in the summer of 2011.

Kevin White, director of engineering at the hotel, told the EAT that on June 30, 2011, a man and his girlfriend arrived as guests, having driven from Cork. On arrival at the gate, the man claimed he was shocked when Mr Lomulder commented: "You got a very good rate," adding, "that rate's been doubled now."

This incident was disputed by Alison Hough, Mr Lomulder's solicitor, who pointed out that he did not have access to the rates paid by guests.

'Aggressive'

In the second incident, sent by email on July 28, 2011, it was claimed Mr Lomulder had been "rude, unprofessional and aggressive" towards a guest attempting to park in the hotel driveway.

Mr Lomulder told the tribunal that this guest had attempted to pull into a space reserved for buses. When he told him, the man had screamed: "I have your job on a stick."

Mr Lomulder claimed that he had not received adequate training to be at the gate, where he had to constantly refuse people entry. He received constant abuse and people had even driven over his foot, he claimed.

"I'm a big guy and if a big guy says no, it doesn't look right to people," he said.

"People want something they can't get and I have to tell them they can't get it."

He felt he had not been given a fair opportunity by the hotel during the disciplinary hearing to explain his side and felt they did not believe him.

Breaking down, he said the dismissal "took the heart out of me. If they say 'Hans you can come back tomorrow' I'll be there," he said.

The tribunal board commented that there was clearly a problem with parking during busy periods at the Four Seasons.

They will now consider their verdict which will be posted out to both parties.

Irish Independent

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