Tuesday 16 July 2019

WRC recommends that retail worker receive €6,000 over hot pot noodle fall-out dismissal

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Gordon Deegan

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has recommended that a retailer pay out €6,000 to a retail worker who was sacked arising from the fall-out from accidentally spilling a cup of hot pot noodles on a child.

In the case, WRC Adjudication Officer, Niamh O’Carroll Kelly found that the worker was dismissed from his employment in the absence of any procedures.

Ms O’Carroll Kelly stated: “There was no investigation, no disciplinary hearing and he was not given an opportunity to defend himself or to appeal the decision to dismiss."

In his evidence, the worker stated that on July 17th 2018 as he was walking down the aisle in the store with a cup of pot noodles in his hand during a break, a young boy turned suddenly causing him to crash into him and the hot water from the noodle cup to pour down on the boy’s shoulder.

The worker said that he did everything he could to try and help the boy and apologised to the boy’s mother as well.

According to the employer, the young boy became very distressed due to the pain of the burn from the hot or boiling water that poured onto his shoulder.

The employer stated that the mother of the boy came into the store the next day to file a complaint.

She spoke with the owner and informed her that she intended to go to a solicitor and to file a personal injury claim.

The woman informed the owner that she had to take her son to the hospital the evening before due to the severity of the burn.

The owner spoke to the worker and told him that he would have to be more careful.

The manager of the store stated that he spoke with the worker and informed him that he was to have all of his breaks in the staff room.

The Manager reported that he experienced a very bad attitude from the complainant, so he suspended him for two weeks without pay.

After the two weeks the manager spoke to the complainant again but was still not happy with his attitude, so he dismissed him.

In her findings, Ms O’Carroll Kelly stated that from the evidence of the owner the worker was not dismissed for the incident on the 17th July but because the manager took exception to his attitude.

Ms O’Carroll Kelly stated that the employer’s handling of the entire matter clearly breached the complainant’s right to fair procedures and natural justice.

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