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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Woman branded 'jealous' by boss over his relationship with her housemate takes sacking case

Sam Griffin

Published 19/03/2014 | 02:30

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Laura Kinsella and David Douglas leave the employment appeals tribunal.
Laura Kinsella and David Douglas leave the employment appeals tribunal.
Elva Carri leaves the employment appeals tribunal
Elva Carri leaves the employment appeals tribunal

A website copy editor, branded jealous by her boss, claims she was unfairly dismissed following a series of late-night communications, including a sexually-suggestive text and Facebook messages.

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Elva Carri, from Kilmainham in Dublin, claims she was sacked by digital marketing company More Fresh Thought Ltd, which trades as ebow, after the company's founder and managing director David Douglas began a relationship with her then housemate.

Giving evidence at an employment appeal case, Mr Douglas said Ms Carri was dismissed because of the company's difficult financial position and because she was the "least profitable employee".

Ms Carri, whose salary rose to €24,000 the year she was dismissed, began a work placement with the firm in March 2011 before she was offered full employment in December of that year.

The tribunal heard the two were friends and would frequently exchange messages on social networks.

However, Mr Douglas said their relationship "turned very sour" when he began dating her housemate Laura Kinsella and said the former employee was "jealous".

The tribunal heard that on one occasion Ms Carri angrily texted her boss after he left a Christmas party in 2011 early with Ms Kinsella insisting he should have said goodbye before leaving and that the office Christmas party wasn't a night "for getting your hole".

Ms Carri apologised for the text the next day, the witness said.

On another occasion, in October 2012, the complainant wrote to her boss saying she was "irked" after he had corrected a typo in a public forum on Facebook. In a reply sent shortly after 2am, Mr Douglas told his employee he was joking and "to get over yourself".

He then instructed his girlfriend to tell Ms Carri not to come into work the following day.

He said that, at the time, he was desperately trying to stop the company from going under. He told Ms Carri not to contact him.

Ms Carri remained out of work from October 25 to 29 despite efforts by both parties to meet to discuss the matter.

Mr Douglas then wrote to the complainant on November 1 to inform her he had terminated her contract. He also revealed the company hired a private investigator to monitor Ms Carri when they became suspicious she had another job.

Ms Carri requested an internal appeal before taking a case to the Employment Tribunal after she was dissatisfied with the company's efforts to engage.

Mr Douglas said four other people left the company in 2012 and his actions meant the company had survived and now had profits of €200,000.

The tribunal chairperson said she was surprised the business was doing so well given "the bizarre kinds of comments going between bosses and workers" and said ebow was "treading on dangerous ground" by using social networks for personal and professional discussion.

The case was adjourned until July.

Irish Independent

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