Animal welfare officer loses claim for unfair dismissal

An animal welfare officer, who was one of the stars of an RTÉ TV series, has lost her case against the Galway SPCA, claiming unfair dismissal.

Janine Zanon, aged 56, claimed that she had to quit her job after receiving threats and verbal abuse from members of the Traveller community.

She told a hearing of the Employment Appeals Tribunal in Galway last month her complaints were ignored, she had not been properly supported or listened to by her employers, and had in effect been constructively dismissed.

Ms Zanon, who is originally from Paris, had been a central character in the documentary series Animal Rescue, broadcast on RTÉ television. She had worked for Galway SPCA from 2002 to 2012.

But Galway SPCA insisted it had gone to significant lengths to assist her deal with her difficulties in the job. Chairwoman Helen Cooke agreed Ms Zanon was passionate about animals, but on occasion she had to intervene to speak to people she was dealing with in order to defuse situations in which Ms Zanon had become involved.

She was disappointed to hear Ms Zanon say she had no support and “staggered” at any suggestion that she had a poor working relationship with her.

Dismissing the claim, the tribunal said, even though Ms Zanon did not want to leave her job, she had walked out on March 4, 2012, and did not return despite her job being available to her.


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