Monday 21 January 2019

Hostel porter sacked over alleged 'threat to kill' awarded €3,500

Workplace Relations Commission (Stock photo)
Workplace Relations Commission (Stock photo)

Darragh McDonagh

A night porter who was sacked after allegedly threatening to kill his boss has been awarded €3,500 in compensation for unfair dismissal by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

The unnamed Polish national was employed at a hostel for asylum-seekers for 11 years before his sacking, which happened after his wife told a manager he was on his way to the hostel to kill her.

The alleged threat followed a "relatively minor set of events" that had an "extraordinary" effect on the porter, WRC adjudication officer James Kelly said.

The female manager left a note for the complainant on March 23 last year which asked him why a non-resident had been admitted after the 10pm curfew.

This made the porter very stressed and he did not go to work the following day. He started drinking and attempted to take his own life.

His wife, who worked as a cleaner at the hostel, met with the manager the next day and told her that her husband was very angry with her.

She then received a call from her daughter and told the manager that her husband was on his way to the hostel to kill her.

In her evidence, the complainant's wife said her English was limited and she had not literally meant that he was going to kill her.

The manager called gardai and a doctor, who were on the premises when the complainant arrived. He left voluntarily at the direction of gardai.

The porter told the hearing he had never said he was going to kill anyone and only wanted to speak with the manager. He said she had over-reacted by calling the authorities.

The complainant went to meetings with an HR adviser, but they were "explosive, difficult and frustrating", according to Mr Kelly, and both parties were suspicious of each other's intentions during this period.

On September 28, he received an email stating that his refusal to participate in the process had been construed as a resignation.

The adjudication officer said both parties had contributed to the breakdown in communication, but there were no substantial grounds to justify dismissal and directed the hostel to pay €3,500 compensation.


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