Ryanair steward sacked after ‘mystery’ audit

Mystery passengers hired by Ryanair to assess the sales procedures of the airline’s cabin crew identified serious safety breaches by one employee during two flights in 2009.

The Employment Appeals Tribunal has ruled that the airline did not unfairly sack a senior cabin crew member, Giuseppe Vairo, after his performance was assessed by one of the company’s “auditors”.

The tribunal heard that Ryanair staff were aware of the existence of mystery passengers but not of their identity.

Ryanair took disciplinary action against Mr Vairo, from Bergamo in Italy, for what it claimed was gross misconduct related to breaches of safety and security procedures.

Although details of the breaches were not revealed, the mystery passenger gave evidence that she would not have been happy for her family members to travel on the flights.

Mr Vairo admitted he did not follow some company procedures but insisted he had flexibility in applying the rules.

The tribunal rejected Mr Vairo’s claims that he had met the mystery passenger at a party in Italy a few years earlier and that she had a personal vendetta against him because she allegedly rejected his advances towards her.

The tribunal said there were inconsistencies in Mr Vairo’s evidence and that the process used by Ryanair to dismiss him had been fair.

Meanwhile, Tesco was ordered to reinstate an employee who was sacked for breaching the company’s “honesty policy” by taking a four-pack of Red Bull from the store without paying for it on Oct 24, 2009.

James White, of Cool-ock, Dublin, successfully appealed the recommendation of a rights commissioner that he should be dismissed for breaching the company’s “zero tolerance” approach to such a policy.

The tribunal heard Mr White had taken other items on the same day for which he had paid.

The tribunal found by a 2-1 majority decision that Mr White was careless, neglectful and a bad example for workers in his charge, but that he was not dishonest.

It noted that Mr White had made no attempt to avoid his taking the Red Bull cans being captured on CCTV as well as the fact he had a previously unblemished record with Tesco and had offered to pay for the drinks as soon as he realised his error.

However, the tribunal said Mr White should be reinstated to the position of an ordinary worker rather than the line manager position to which he had been promoted.

In another ruling, Joanne Mooney of Ballymore Eustace, Co Kildare, a former employee of the Community Games, was awarded €65,000 after the tribunal ruled that she had been unfairly selected for redundancy.

The tribunal said the voluntary sports body had failed to provide any evidence to support its claims that it needed to make a redundancy in 2010.

The tribunal heard that staff numbers at the Community Games had increased since Ms Mooney had been let go.

In a separate ruling, leading accountancy firm Ernst & Young was ordered to pay €40,000 to a former employee who was unfairly selected for redundancy.

Although the tribunal ruled that a redundancy situation existed with the firm’s IT support team in 2010, it found Ernst & Young had wrongfully dismissed Damien Moran, of Sutton, Dublin.

The tribunal heard that Ernst & Young had no formal procedures in place for dealing with a redundancy situation.

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