€50,000 for unfairly dismissed woman

A ZIMBABWEAN woman dismissed by her boss despite being his most successful fundraiser has been awarded €50,000 by the Equality Tribunal.

Josephine Nyamhovsa worked in a commission-based sales role for Boss Worldwide Promotions Ltd (BWPL), which included going door-to-door to sign people up as donors for a variety of charities, in her case mainly Gorta.

In a recruitment brochure from Cobra Group Ltd, the umbrella company of which BWPL was a franchise, Ms Nyamhovsa is praised as being the most successful employee among the entire group of franchises in the category ‘Donations raised per Fundraiser’. She raised €405,749.48 in 2004.

Ms Nyamhovsa started with BWPL as a field representative in January 2004 and claims that she was subjected to harassment by her boss Steven Broadey who, on an occasion when she had forgotten her field representative badge in her car, told her: "You will be on the field for 70 gazillion years."

He said this in the presence of a trainee of Ms Nyamhovsa. The equality officer who adjudicated on her case at a hearing of the Equality Tribunal said he was satisfied that Mr Broadey "would not have made such an undermining remark to a white, Irish man in front of a trainee".

Ms Nyamhovsa told the tribunal that on one occasion after a holiday, she returned to find that she was without a crew to lead — a crew she relied upon for commission for herself.

Ms Nyamhovsa said that on October 17, 2005, she was told by Mr Broadey to leave. She was given no reasons for her dismissal.

Mr Broadey argued the tribunal had no jurisdiction in the complaint, that Ms Nyamhovsa, like the other sales representatives working for his business, was a self-employed sole trader with whom he was trading, and therefore not an employee.

The equality officer found that Mr Broadey had discriminated against Ms Nyamhovsa and ordered him to pay her €5,000 in compensation for harassment and discriminatory treatment and €45,000 in compensation for discriminatory dismissal.