Tuesday 27 June 2017

'It's a good outcome and I'm glad it's over' - One of Ireland's richest men agrees to pay mum €16k for dismissal

The mum of one claims she was unfairly dismissed because the company wanted a "fresh face"

Claudine Harnesse from Co Sligo with her young daughter
Claudine Harnesse from Co Sligo with her young daughter
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

One of Ireland's richest men has agreed to pay two former members of staff who were awaiting compensation for unfair dismissal.

Claudine Harnesse from Co Sligo took a case to the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) after being unfairly dismissed from Source Sligo, a renowned restaurant and wine bar owed by Ray and Eileen Monahan.

Claudine told Independent.ie that she cried when management told her they wanted a "fresh face".

"It was horrendous and insulting. My initial reaction was to cry. I asked my manager did I do anything wrong and he said no."

Claudine went to the EAT in 2014 and filed a case for unfair dismissal.

"The Monahans failed to show up at the Tribunal even they were given many correspondences from solicitors and the Tribunal but they never showed up. If you did something you're happy with, why not show up and defend your actions?" Claudine told Independent.ie.

The tribunal was heard by three judges and Claudine was awarded €16, 340 on the basis of unfair dismissal in July 2014.

"It was appalling on a personal level as a woman, it was appalling that we had no contract with our terms and conditions and it was appalling the time frame of the dismissal.

"That was in July 2014 and I still haven't got paid. No correspondence at all from the solictors."

Ray Monahan issued a statement to Independent.ie today saying he will pay Claudine her compensation in full.

"I acknowledge that an award made by the Employment Appeals Tribunal to Claudine Harnesse relating to her employment at Source Sligo, which closed in September 2011, is outstanding.

"The award will now be paid in full to Claudine.

"I apologise to Claudine for the delay in paying this Employment Appeals Tribunal award and for the inconvenience this may have caused her.”

Claudine said the money would mean "the world" to her family as her husband was involved in a car collision and has been out of work for a year.

"It's a good outcome and I'm glad it's over. I haven't heard from the Monahan's myself so I'm hoping the money will come but I'm not sure.

"We'd use the money to get a mortgage on our home. We're just a young family trying to get by," said Claudine.

Another employee for the Monahan's, Stuart Skeffington, is also owed over €7,000 for unfair dismissal.

"I've been to two tribunal appeals. One for unfair dismissal and one for having no contract. I won both and I'm still to be paid," Stuart told Joe Duffy on RTÉ's Liveline.

"I was sacked on the spot. We had a disagreement the night before and the head chef told me to F-off.

"On my arrival to work the next day. He marched me straight up to the restaurant in front of all the diners."

Stuart said he asked for it in writing and the man wrote it on a piece of till receipt.

“I was stunned. I went to seek legal advice and I went to the EAT."

Ray Monahan also confirmed that Stuart will receive his compensation in full and apologised for the delay.

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