€7.9k for salesman sacked over harassment

A kitchen company, which sacked a salesman after receiving two complaints of verbal sexual harassment made against him by female colleagues, has been ordered to pay €2,307 for his unfair dismissal.

Including commission the man argued he was owed, the total bill to the firm is €7,918.

The kitchen firm said it sacked the salesman after:

  • Complaints were received about inappropriate comments he allegedly made about a colleague’s baldness, in front of a customer;
  • Allegations that he stole stock from the firm;
  • Allegations that he took commission from other employees;
  • Allegations that he repeatedly ordered the wrong stock, resulting in waste.

On the complaints of verbal sexual harassment, his female colleagues threatened to report what occurred to gardaí, but a company representative intervened.

The series of allegations was strongly disputed by the man. The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) found that he was unfairly dismissed on the basis he was not given an opportunity to respond to the allegations made, prior to his dismissal.

WRC adjudication officer Davnet O’Driscoll said: “The dismissal is not in accordance with fair procedures nor the complainant’s contract of employment. I find the complainant was unfairly dismissed as a result.”

The WRC also ordered that the firm pay the man €5,611 in commission, making a total of €7,918 it must pay.

The man said that, as soon as he began looking for his commission, allegations were made against him.

“However, it appears there was never any formal investigation by the company into any of the serious allegations made, and no disciplinary findings,” Ms O’Driscoll said. The man secured new work but on reduced wages.

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