Avoca defends decision to sack chef over taunts
A FORMER chef at Avoca cafe, who was fired from her job over claims of her objectionable behaviour, which included comments about gay co-workers, began a case of unfair dismissal against the company yesterday.
Polish chef Ewa Leks, of Bow Lane West, Kilmainham, Dublin, was dismissed by Avoca Handweavers Ltd over claims of her “general objectionable behaviour” and “comments of a racist and homophobic nature”, the Employment Appeals Tribunal heard yesterday.
Counsel for Avoca, Mark Connaughton SC, said her behaviour had culminated in an incident where she had initially refused to accept the instructions of a supervising chef. In light of this event and other behaviour at its Suffolk Street branch in Dublin between October 2007 and April 2008, Avoca had to inform her that it no choice but to dismiss her, Mr Connaughton said.
However, counsel for Ms Leks, Blazej Nowak, claimed Ms Leks had not been given a hearing or a chance to appeal the decision.
He said following an argument with a waitress in February, head chef John Dunne had issued her with a written warning without an investigation.
Ms Leks was warned after she had made remarks of a racial nature about a Nigerian member of staff, Mr Connaughton said.
Ms Leks was pregnant when dismissed. Mr Nowak said her pregnancy could have influenced the decision to end her employment. Avoca vigorously denies this. The case was adjourned until November 24th.