Monday 19 August 2019

Waitress who called in sick while pregnant 'was unfairly sacked'

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Darragh McDonagh

A waitress sacked after calling in sick while she was pregnant has been awarded €1,250 for unfair dismissal.

Her employers told an adjudication hearing of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) she was sacked - when she was seven weeks' pregnant - simply because she was unreliable.

The waitress - who admitted in evidence that she had said when she called in sick that the illness was alcohol-related, rather than pregnancy-related - told the hearing that her manager had been aware that she was expecting a baby.

A representative for her employers claimed that the director of the business had not been informed.

However, WRC adjudication officer Maire Mulcahy said that it was "unlikely" that the manager would not have discussed the pregnancy with the director. She found that the complaint of unfair dismissal was well founded.

However, she noted that the complainant had applied for only three positions during almost seven months of unemployment.

Her efforts to mitigate her loss were therefore "seriously inadequate". For this reason, compensation of just €1,250 was awarded.

The hearing was told that there was a "history of difficulties" with the waitress, who had been sent home on a number of occasions for being "unkempt" and unfit for work.

On June 30 last year, she called in sick just 20 minutes before her shift was to begin.

The former waitress told the hearing she had "a couple of drinks" during the previous night, and felt unwell.

The short notice gave her employers no time to arrange a replacement.

The waitress normally worked up to 20 hours per week for €10 an hour, and was sent a copy of the roster each week on a Wednesday. This did not happen after the incident on June 30.

Irish Independent

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