€20k Award For Housekeeper Dismissed Due To Bullying Allegations

The importance of allowing employees to be made aware of and have the opportunity to respond to complaints against them before being dismissed was highlighted in this case (UD 1665/2012 & MN 259/2013) when the claimant won her unfair dismissal claim.

The claimant whose evidence was uncontested at the EAT hearing had worked in the hotel for 20 years before being dismissed and outlined that the workplace had changed following a change of ownership and caused her stress. She was accused of bullying by a staff member after a brief altercation but there was no investigation carried out and she was not given details of the complaint or an opportunity to defend herself. Instead she was presented with a list of complaints in her dismissal letter.

The EAT found that the claimant was unfairly dismissed and awarded €20,000 under the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 – 2007 as well as €3,400 under the Minimum Notice Acts 1973 – 2005.

Lessons For Employers

Even if the allegations raised against the claimant had been valid, without offering due process and the opportunity to respond, a dismissal will always be deemed unfair and it is critical that a thorough investigation and disciplinary procedure is followed in these circumstances.