Woman fired by ex over her moving closer to new partner
A MOTOR dealer who sacked his exgirlfriend after hearing that she was moving house to be closer to her new partner has been ordered to pay her €8,900 for unfair dismissal.
An adjudication hearing of the Workplace Relations Commission heard that the motor dealer had reacted very badly to news of the proposed move, and that it had ‘a very negative effect’ on him. It culminated in an exchange between the former couple, during which he told his employee: ‘I want you gone, get your stuff and go.’
She understood this to be a termination of her employment, and she did not return to work. She also surrendered her company car, although her employer had made no reference to this.
Some days later, the motor dealer called his ex-girlfriend and told her she did not have to lose her job over the incident, and that she should forget about it and return to work. She declined as it would be ‘too uncomfortable’ for her to go back, as the circumstances of her departure were known to her co-workers.
In his findings, WRC adjudication officer Pat Brady noted that the inter-personal relationship between the two parties had ‘of course’ played a part in the matter.
The complainant had been in a relationship with her boss, but this had ended a number of years ago.
In 2014, she entered a new relationship and in April 2016, she told her employer that she was moving house to be closer to her new partner.
Mr Brady said the employer had a responsibility to manage the employment relationship regardless of personal connections. He said the words uttered by the motor dealer in the course of the alleged dismissal had been ‘at best irresponsible, and at worst (and more probably) a clear indication of the termination of her employment’.
Mr Brady said that a ‘heat of the moment’ defence may be invoked in such situations, but the phone call suggesting that the employee return to work was considered too late to undo a heat-of-the-moment action.
It was found that a dismissal took place and that, in the absence of any cause or procedures, it was unfair.
The motor dealer was ordered to pay compensation of €8,900 to his ex-girlfriend, subject to normal statutory deductions. The identities of the parties were not disclosed.