A sports equipment provider unfairly dismissed a female employee two days after her marital engagement to the company’s managing director ended.
The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) ordered the company to pay the woman €4,500 compensation for her unfair dismissal.
WRC Adjudicator, Anne McElduff found the company – co-owned by the unfairly dismissed worker’s father – “acted unreasonably” in dismissing the female worker.
The woman’s engagement with the managing director ended on July 30th 2019 by mutual agreement.
‘Get out of the office’
The woman’s duties included payroll. She alleged to the WRC that on August 1st, 2019 she was told by the managing director to pay everyone’s wages including her own, to pay herself her annual leave entitlements and to leave the business that day and not return.
The woman told the hearing that she was told by the managing director to “get out of the office”, to “stay clear of the office” and to “give [yourself] your P45 and leave and not return”.
The woman argued that she has been unfairly dismissed and treated in a very unreasonable manner.
She stated there was no reason for her to leave the business in such a manner as the relationship with the MD had ended by mutual agreement.
As part of the company’s case, the woman’s father was a shareholder in the company and had told her that her continued employment would not work out given the breakdown of the relationship.
He told her to ‘walk away from the business’.
Alleged voluntary departure
The company maintained this was not a normal situation, that there was an element of ‘spite’ in the case and that it was recognised the female employee could not continue to work in the business given the relationship breakdown.
The company argued that given that the complainant’s father continued to work in the business, it was not plausible to assert that the complainant had been dismissed.
The company stated that the firm did not wish to go down the route of dismissal and that it was the complainant’s own decision to voluntarily leave the business and seek employment elsewhere.
After the hearing the company told the WRC that the business is no longer active, and while it has not yet closed, is in the process of closure.
In her findings, Ms McElduff stated that she found particularly persuasive the complainant’s uncontested oral evidence in relation to what was said to her by the managing director on August 1st 2019 in terms of telling her to get her P45, stay clear of the office, leave and not return.
Ms McElduff stated that the company has not advanced any substantial reason as to why the woman’s employment was terminated.