Friday 15 December 2017

Head chef gave in his notice and later claimed he had been sacked, judge decides

Judge's gavel
Judge's gavel

By Saurya Cherfi

A head chef in a top Malahide, Co Dublin, restaurant gave in his notice after having been refused an increase in wages and later claimed he had been sacked, a judge decided today.

Judge Leonie Reynolds overturned a decision of the Employment Appeals Tribunal which had awarded Lamine Belarbi compensation for unfair dismissal from his job in Giovanni’s Italian restaurant in Townyard Lane, Malahide.

The judge told barrister Willie Fawcett, counsel for restaurant owner Salah Douaouda , that she accepted evidence of the owner and staff that it was well known Mr Belarbi had given in his notice with the intention of seeking work somewhere else.

Mr Fawcett, who appeared with solicitors Devaney and Partners, told the Circuit Civil Court that Douaouda Limited, which trades as Giovanni’s Restaurant, was appealing a determination of the Tribunal which had awarded Mr Belarbi €7,000 compensation for unfair dismissal.

On overturning the Tribunal’s decision, Judge Reynolds awarded legal costs to the restaurant.

Mr Douaouda said Mr Belarbi had given him two-weeks notice in July 2012. He said he had been surprised when Belarbi phoned him at the end of his employment and asked for a proof of dismissal, in order to claim Social Welfare benefits.  

The court heard that Douaouda, after refusing to do so, received a letter from Belarbi, claiming he had been dismissed.

Douaouda told Judge Reynolds that Belarbi had asked for a pay rise a few months before handing in his notice, and his behaviour had changed after it was refused.

Former waitress Rebecca Stanley told the court that in the restaurant, everybody knew Belarbi was leaving. She said he had told her so himself, and it had been a “hot topic within the restaurant” at the time.

Belarbi, with an address at Drynam Green, Drynam Hall, Kinsealy, Swords, Co Dublin, had claimed that he had been unfairly dismissed after having been told by Douaouda that “he was not good enough.”

He denied telling his former colleagues he was leaving his job at the restaurant and planned to move to France with his family.

Judge Reynolds said she was satisfied Mr Douaouda’s evidence had been true and accurate and that Mr Belarbi had not been dismissed.

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