The Employment Appeals Tribunal has ordered RTÉ Dragon, Ramona Nicholas’s pharmacy group to pay €4,000 to a female sales assistant the business unfairly dismissed.
In a majority ruling, the EAT found Cara Pharmacy unfairly dismissed Carmel Murphy as a sales assistant in February 2012 for “gross misconduct”.
After a two-day hearing into the case, a dissenting member of the three-member EAT found that Ms Nicholas’s business was “fair and reasonable” in dismissing Ms Murphy.
Ms Murphy had worked for the firm for nine years and the EAT reports that “she had been an exemplary member of staff”.
In the case, Ms Murphy was dismissed after management had lost trust in her, after she placed an IOU in a lodgement bag concerning up to €200 to pay bills and had removed money from the till without authorisation. Ms Murphy said that she always refunded the monies to the business.
In her evidence, Ms Murphy said: “IOUs were common in the store since the commencement of her employment. Everyone knew about them. If the claimant needed to borrow money from the till she wrote an IOU with her name on it.”
On January 19, 2012, management at the firm met with Ms Murphy and according to the EAT report, she was questioned on the IOUs, and the removal of money from the till.
The EAT report records that Ms Murphy “was in shock at that meeting and was told that she was being suspended for two weeks pending a full enquiry”.
Ms Murphy was dismissed for gross misconduct on February 6, 2012.
The EAT, in a majority verdict, found that the Cara group unfairly dismissed Ms Murphy and awarded her €4,000, but found that she contributed substantially to her own dismissal.
In a dissenting opinion, one member of the EAT found that “it was fair and reasonable for the respondent to dismiss the claimant for gross conduct”.
The Cara Pharmacy group did not return a call for comment yesterday.
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