News from the courts –

1. Constructive Dismissal case – employee awarded €12,500:

A leading Dublin health club, West Wood Club, Clontarf, has been ordered by the Employment Appeals Tribunal to pay €12,500 in compensation to one of its former employees after it accepted her contention that she was constructively dismissed.

According to the Tribunal, “there is little doubt that the working relationship between the claimant and the general manager was difficult and fractious. In plain language, they rubbed each other up the wrong way and it showed in their interactions.”

The Tribunal said the actions and behaviour of this manager contributed significantly to the decision of the claimant to resign from the respondent. “Some of the emails sent by that manager to the claimant were aggressive and offensive.”

It said that style of communication was compounded by some of her verbal airings with her. These developments, together with a lack of a clear managerial structure, led to the claimant’s resignation, it added.


2. Equality Tribunal awarded healthcare worker €20,000 after she was subjected to discriminatory treatment by failing to provide reasonable accommodation following her diagnosis with multiple sclerosis.

The Tribunal was critical of the “demeanour and body language” of managers giving evidence at the Tribunal, concluding that they were defensive in the face of questioning whereas the claimant was a “credible and cogent witness.”

The Tribunal was also critical of the failure of the respondent to consult medical reports before transferring the claimant, against her wishes, to a new department within the organisation. “In the course of the hearing, the HR manager (of the respondent) referred to a duty of care … towards the complainant having regard to a concern that she would suffer a collapse as a result of fatigue.”

It said there was no medical evidence to support this view. It concluded that, “.. assumptions of a health and safety nature towards employees with a disability, without the benefit of receiving, or assessing the medical evidence, constitute discrimination on the grounds of disability.”