A FORMER shop steward says she was shocked to hear an airport worker's claims that he was threatened with dismissal for absences related to a serious blood disorder.
Stuart McDonnell (30), pictured, a former part-time cleaner at Dublin Airport from north Co Dublin, claims he was forced to resign from his job with the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) because management gave him no support nor demonstrated any empathy towards him after he revealed the reason for his long-term absence was a serious leukemia-like illness.
During the second day of his constructive dismissal case at the Employment Appeals Tribunal in Dublin yesterday, Mr McDonnell maintained that he experienced severe "trauma" when he disclosed to human resources officials during a meeting in February 2009 that he had a "life-threatening" illness preventing him from returning to work.
He has since been diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, which affects bone marrow. Yet he claims the response he got from his employer was the same as if he had disclosed "he had a sore foot", the tribunal heard.
However, his former supervisor, Una Doyle, a senior DAA administrator who manages the cleaning staff's attendance records, said she was present at the meeting where Mr McDonnell had claimed he disclosed the seriousness of his illness and was treated with hostility.
"I'm 100pc sure as I sit here that that (diagnosis) would have totally changed the situation," she told the tribunal.
She admitted that he looked "tired and drawn". But she said it was the first time that "we heard anything about a blood disorder".
She also denied Mr McDonnell's claims that he was treated aggressively by the human resources official.
"For all the years that I worked for Aer Rianta I never heard anyone roar or shout or tell anyone they would be sacked," she said of the DAA's previous incarnation. "It was not an angry meeting, there was nothing like that," she said.
The tribunal has retired to consider the case.