Wednesday 11 December 2019

Ex-Ryanair worker 'was smoking in restricted area'

Kevin Keane

A FORMER Ryanair employee was caught smoking in a restricted area of Dublin airport minutes after a meeting with his managers.

An Employment Appeals Tribunal has also heard that the worker used foul language after challenging his line manager about his annual leave entitlements.

William Graham (62) from Rush, Co Dublin, maintains Ryanair unfairly dismissed him from his job as a maintenance co-ordinator in its Dublin airport headquarters in August 2010. The tribunal has heard that at the time of his dismissal, Mr Graham was already on a final written warning because of repeated absenteeism. The tribunal has previously heard that Mr Graham was absent from work for 74 days in 2008 for medical reasons but was able to present medical certificates in almost all occasions.

Mr Graham was dismissed for 'gross misconduct' following three breaches of company policy.

Yesterday Mr Graham's immediate manager, Gavin Malone, said two of these instances involved Mr Graham smoking in a restricted area of Dublin airport while the remaining incident involved him leaving his workplace 20 minutes before his shift ended.

Mr Malone said that shortly after coming into work at the end of July 2010 he found Mr Graham smoking in an airside part of the airport.

"I asked him why he was here, he said he was here because there was nowhere to go," he said.

"I told him he needed to go to this desk as his colleague needed to finish his shift."

Mr Malone also described how on July 29, 2010, Mr Graham interrupted a discussion he was having with another employee.

"There was all sorts of bad language, there was no point in continuing so I called a halt to it," he said.

Mr Malone said as he left, Mr Graham "mouthed-off" through a glass partition.

"I thought that was not acceptable in a public area so I called him back and told him I was taking the matter further."

Mr Malone told the hearing that he reported Mr Graham to the company's HR department.

Later, at a meeting with Ryanair's HR manager Lorna Reynolds, Mr Graham admitted that he used foul language but said he regularly did so in his job. He also told Mr Malone that he didn't realise "he was so sensitive".

The tribunal heard that the following month Mr Malone was returning from a meeting when he saw Mr Graham, who had also attended the meeting, smoking in an area between a prefab and the airside fence of Dublin airport.

"I was very surprised to find him smoking, everyone is aware of it (being against airport bye-laws)".

The case has been adjourned until May when it is due to hear testimony from Mr Graham.

Irish Independent

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