A manager of a fast food outlet “who could have burned the place down” by mistake after leaving a fryer on overnight has been awarded €20,000 for her unfair dismissal.
This follows the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) finding the woman was denied natural justice when sacked by her boss.
In a submission to the WRC, the unnamed former manager admitted she left the fryer on.
She said: “It was the first time that had ever happened to me on a shift.”
The woman said that the unnamed owner of the fast food franchised operation told her on the night he sacked her last November he didn’t think she knew how serious it was as the place could have burned down.
She said: “I started laughing at him because on the last occasion I showed the owner the electrical equipment left on all night he laughed and said it wouldn’t be a bad thing if it burned down the place. I responded by saying ‘God forgive you’.”
She said after the owner said he was letting the woman go, she asked him to give a reason and he said he didn’t have to give her one and that was the end of it.
The company made no appearance at the hearing. The woman explained that the restaurant was a franchise operation and that ownership of the franchise had changed in February 2015.
The woman’s relationship with the present owner was difficult at times as he never seemed to have any procedures for dealing with staff issues.
In relation to the incident that led to the woman’s sacking, she said that no damage had been caused to the fryer that had been left on overnight.
The woman explained she was on duty with four trainee staff who were not trained to use the equipment. The woman also pointed out other occasions on which a fryer had been left on.
The woman said that since her dismissal she has only managed to get three weeks work in a retail store at Christmas.
She had applied for many jobs without success.
The WRC adjudication officer in the case, Joe Donnelly stated: “Based on the uncontested evidence I find that the complainant was unfairly dismissed by the respondent.”
Making the €20,000 award, Mr Donnelly said: “There was a complete lack of procedures on the part of the respondent in dealing with the issues and therefore a denial of natural justice to the complainant.”
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