Quayside manager left with no alternative but to resign

Published 08/04/2014 | 05:40

Former centre manager Catherine Mullaney.
Former centre manager Catherine Mullaney.

The manager of a shopping centre who resigned from her job as she felt she was constantly being undermined was awarded compensation of €9,461.33 at an Employments Appeals Tribunal.

The manager of a shopping centre who resigned from her job as she felt she was constantly being undermined was awarded compensation of €9,461.33 at an Employments Appeals Tribunal.

Catherine Mullaney began working at Quayside Shopping Centre in October 2006 but quit in June 2011.

She told the tribunal she was constantly criticised and felt she could not do anything right.

She had to take sick leave after suffering heart palpitations and headaches. Issues had arisen over promotions at the centre and car parking.

Ms Mullaney of 14 Knappaghmore Crescent, First Sea Road took an action against QPS Quayside Property Services Ltd, Quayside Shopping Centre.

The company has two directors, Seamus O'Dowd and Anthony Murray.

The tribunal was told the company was not represented at the hearing.

However, solicitor William Henry appeared to hold a watching brief on behalf of Mr O'Dowd.

The claimant was represented by solicitor Michele O'Boyle.

Ms Mullaney said she was responsible for the collection of rents from shop units, liaising with tenants, health and safety, security and cleaning.

She didn't have a contract of employment.

In June 2010 staff were asked to place notices on small cars parked in the car park. Mr Murray only wanted SUVs parked in these particular spaces.

Staff were mocked and abused by customers and the matter was raised with Mr Murray when he returned from annual leave.

Ms Mullaney said she wanted to defend the staff and Mr Murray accused her of resisting change. He was angry and shouted at her. He subsequently withdrew the request.

At a management meeting later it was suggested that some of her duties be assigned to others.

Ms Mullaney said it was clear Mr Murray wanted to strip her of her duties.

To celebrate the centre's fifth anniversary, a birthday cake was ordered to mark the occasion.

It was to be delivered at 1.30pm but Mr Murray complained it should have been delivered in the morning.

The claimant felt she could not do anything right. She felt unwell and had heart palpitations, headaches and was withdrawn from family and friends.

She went on sick leave on August 9th 2010.

At Halloween 2010 Ms Mullaney organised a successful promotion and received many compliments.

Mr Murray told her however that two tenants located on Level 2 complained the promotion didn't take place on their level.

RTE's Off the Rails came to the shopping centre in March 2011. Ms Mullaney noticed that a prominent hairdresser located elsewhere in Sligo was present in the shopping centre.

The claimant identified a conflict of interest with a tenant who operated a salon in Quayside.

Ms Mullaney rectified this with RTE and the schedule was changed to make provision for this salon's participation.

After the show she was accused of bad management.

She was asked to convene a meeting towards the end of March 2011.

She was criticised at this gathering and again subjected to abusive and aggressive behaviour.

Mr O'Dowd defended Ms Mullaney at the meeting and recognised the success of the event.

After that meeting the claimant felt she was always looking over her shoulder and could not do anything right.

Mr O'Dowd was very sympathetic towards her.

Ms Mullaney said it was clear to her that Mr Murray and Mr O'Dowd were not getting on well together.

The claimant took sick leave towards the end of March 2011 and resigned on June 28th. At the end of August she got another full-time job.

The tribunal said it was satisfied the claimant had no alternative but to resign.

It awarded Ms Mullaney compensation of €9,461.33.

Sligo Champion

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