Case Number: ADJ-00018626. Workplace Relations Commission

Date20 February 2019
Docket NumberADJ-00018626
CourtWorkplace Relations Commission
PartiesA Delicatessen Assistant v A Delicatessen

In accordance with Section 41 of the Workplace Relations Act 2015 and Section 13 of the Industrial Relations Act 1969, these complaints and this dispute were assigned to me by the Director General. I conducted a hearing on February 4th 2019, for the parties to have an opportunity to be heard and to present evidence relevant to the complaints and the dispute. The complainant was represented by Mr Mark Hyland, Solicitor. The respondent did not attend. I established that correspondence notifying the respondent of the date and time of the hearing was sent to him at the respondent’s address given on the complainant’s contract of employment and I proceeded with the hearing on the basis of the evidence of the complainant.


The complainant said that she commenced employment as an assistant in the respondent’s delicatessen on November 27th 2017. She was paid €10.00 per hour. She walked out of work before 10.00am on the morning of Thursday, August 16th 2018. She felt that her manager was blaming her for things that were not her fault and she said that the situation was affecting her health and she was stressed out. On Sunday, August 19th, she received an e mail from the owner of the delicatessen in which he informed her that her employment was terminated. The complainant claims that her dismissal was unfair. She also claims that she did not receive any notice of the termination of her employment and she was not given a contract of employment within two months of her start date.

CA-00023965-001 Complaint under Section 13 of the Industrial Relations Act 1969

Summary of Complainant’s Case:

Early on the morning of Thursday, August 16th, the complainant said that the manager of the delicatessen criticised her unfairly over what she described as “some stuff that happened in the workplace.” The complainant said that she didn’t do any of the things that she was accused of but the manager kept insisting that she did. When she got upset and was crying, she told the manager that she would have to go home. The manager told her not to be exaggerating and tried to get her to calm down, but the complainant said that although she tried to relax and calm down, she couldn’t and she left the shop just before 10.00am.

In her evidence at the hearing, the complainant said that she sent a text message to the owner of the delicatessen at 10.06am on her way home. She apologised for leaving work. She described working in the café as “overwhelming” as she said she had to supervise other staff to make sure that they did their jobs properly and so that customers are happy with the service.

Later that day, the owner replied to the complainant’s text message by e mail. A copy of this mail was produced in evidence and it shows that the owner explained to the complainant that work-related issues will be raised by the supervisor with staff from time to time and that she wasn’t being singled out for criticism. The owner said that, at short notice, someone had to be found to cover her shift, and that this person would also cover for her the following day, and she was advised not to come to work.

On Saturday, August 18th, the complainant sent the owner an e mail in which she set out how she was trying to look after the business in circumstances where the other employees, in her view, were not doing their jobs properly. On Sunday, August 19th, the owner sent her a mail noting what she had said. He also said that her employment was terminated, because,

“…it is simply unacceptable to leave work as a result of, what I believe to be, reasonable comments about your work performance by your supervisor.

“While this has been a factor in my decision, the main reason for letting you go is that the business continues to decline in the face of increased competition. Coffee sales have declined by nearly 20% and the business does not require the number of baristas it currently employs.”

At the hearing, the complainant said that she received the wages and holiday pay she was due and two weeks’ pay in lieu of notice. The correspondence from the respondent shows that he issued the complainant with a positive reference.

The complainant said that she started a new job on November 22nd 2018 and she was on job-seekers’ allowance from the date of the termination of her employment on August 19th until that date.

Summary of Respondent’s Case:

On December 12th 2018, the respondent was sent the details of this dispute by the Workplace...

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