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Call centre worker who called man an 'impolite animal' gets €20,000 over unfair dismissal


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A call centre worker alleged to have told a customer they were "an impolite animal" has been awarded €20,000 after being unfairly dismissed.

The RCI Call Centre in Cork has been ordered to pay Ibrahim Salah compensation after the Labour Court found it did not give allegations against him "sufficient consideration".

The holiday exchange company provides services to members trading time share holidays with other members. Mr Salah's job involved handling enquiries from members and encouraging them to avail of offers and services.

He is fluent in Arabic and Italian and worked as part of the Italian team.

His starting salary was €20,500, but he had the potential to earn up to €39,000 due to an incentive scheme.

The court's determination said he was involved in a "heated exchange" with a colleague in April 2016 and got a final warning following a disciplinary investigation.

In December he had a phone call with a customer and at the end he referred to the caller as an "impolite animal".

There was then a heated exchange between him and a number of colleagues and he used a rude Italian word "cazzo". The row was heard by a customer whose call was on speaker phone.

An investigation took place and during this two other allegations were put to him concerning dropped calls and an alleged unauthorised transaction with a customer.

The company's director of member services for Europe, Mícheal Lombard, told him he was being dismissed on February 8, 2017.

He appealed the decision but was unsuccessful.

In his evidence, Mr Salah said the customer he spoke to was angry because he claimed to have been misled on a previous call by a colleague. He said despite his best efforts to calm him down, the customer told him to "go f*** off".

The call was recorded but he said transcripts that were produced were inadequate as none of them contained the part where he was provoked.

Deputy chairman of the Labour Court Alan Haugh said he was not satisfied Mr Lombard gave sufficient consideration to the allegations.

Irish Independent