Dental nurse who claimed boss struck her loses appeal bid
A 58-year-old dental nurse, who alleged she had to quit her job because her employer struck her with his closed fist, has lost a court challenge to an Employment Appeals Tribunal decision to dismiss her claim.
Ann O'Reilly was told in the Circuit Civil Court by Judge Matthew Deery that she had again failed to prove constructive dismissal against her former boss, Malahide dentist Dr Tom Hughes, or that there had been any element of assault by him.
Dr Hughes, of The Gallery Practice, Malahide, Co Dublin, told the court that, for safety reasons, he had moved Ms O'Reilly's hand away from the operating button of a machine in the surgery while he was taking a patient's dental impression.
He told the court that he had done so to avoid the possibility of injury to anyone in the surgery, including Ms O'Reilly.
Ms O'Reilly, of Strandville Lodge, Balbriggan, Co Dublin, said Dr Hughes had struck her forcefully on the arm. She was very upset and shocked but finished her day's work. She immediately contacted her solicitor and the gardai.
The judge said that, following the incident on January 23 last year, she had not returned to work. Had she responded to approaches by fellow colleagues the matter could have been addressed to everyone's satisfaction. However, she insisted on going down the legal road.
He accepted that Dr Hughes had at all times wanted her to return to work and that Ms O'Reilly, who had worked at the surgery for 14 years, had insisted on him admitting what he had done and apologising to her.
The judge said the matter had been investigated by gardai. They had spoken to the patient who had been in the dental chair at the time of the incident and the patient had not noticed anything.