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Pregnancy related dismissal – Tribunal notes “Respondent’s procedures were defective and could be said to be crude”

In the case of Aylamba Chocken v The Fitzpatrick Club Limited UD 1992/2010, MN 1993/2010 sent on 23rd August 2010, it was alleged that the Claimant, a casino dealer/croupier, had been dismissed without notice when she became pregnant after being employed by the Respondent from 27th August 2009 to 29th April 2010.The Respondent stated that the Claimant received several warnings, both oral and written, in relation to her conduct. It was the Claimant’s case that she was offered employment by the Respondent’s general manager in August 2009 and that thereafter they were to look after her tax position. In February 2012 an incident arose whereby a man was removed from the Claimant’s gambling table for cheating and a written warning was given to the Claimant “for failure to perform her duties by allowing players to cheat at the table”. The Claimant alleged that she was told subsequently that there was no work for her because she was pregnant. The Claimant stated that she received no documents as to the Respondent’s procedures.The Respondent stated on 29th April 2010 that it was agreed to let the Claimant go as three other employees fell pregnant and had gone on maternity leave. The Respondent stated that prior to February 2010, they did not trust the Claimant.Determination

  1. The Respondent did not employ fair or satisfactory procedures in dismissing the Claimant.
  2. Gross misconduct had not been proven or satisfactorily established against the Claimant
  3. No satisfactory nexus had been established between the unproven and implied allegation of connivance against the Claimant and the finding of gross misconduct.
  4. It was strongly alleged and not rebutted that payment was made to the Claimant in cash such that the Claimant might have concerns as to whether or not she would get state benefit. A maternity policy was put into operation but it was not apparent such procedures were in place at the time.
  5. The Claimant’s dismissal was wholly or mainly due to her pregnancy which was the catalyst for her dismissal.

Finally the Tribunal noted “It is to be re-iterated that the Respondent’s procedures were defective and could be said to be crude”. The Claimant was awarded €36,000 for unfair dismissal and €350 under the Minimum Notice Acts.

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