Woman fired by ex over her mov­ing closer to new part­ner

Irish Daily Mail - - News - By Dar­ragh Mc Don­agh

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.

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