Avoca de­fends de­ci­sion to sack chef over taunts

The Irish Times - - Home News - GENEVIEVE CARBERY

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.

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