Waitress sacked over skirt row wins payout

A part-time waitress sacked after complaining about being told to wear a skirt has been awarded more than €8,000 compensation, it was revealed today.

A part-time waitress sacked after complaining about being told to wear a skirt has been awarded more than €8,000 compensation, it was revealed today.

The Equality Tribunal ordered the pay-out against Sheldon Park Hotel and Leisure Club in Naas Road, Dublin, for victimising its former employee, Emma Conlon.

Conlon complained in December 2005 that she was ordered by a manager to wear a skirt to work, which she said made her feel physically uncomfortable.

She had begun working at the hotel a month before and was wearing trousers for the first few weeks.

But when she was told that a skirt was the proper uniform she contacted the Equality Authority, who wrote to her employer that they considered the practice discriminatory.

Conlon said that soon after this her shifts were cut back until she finally received her P45 in the post the following April with no cover letter and no reason for dismissal.

She made several attempts to speak to different managers to get an explanation but no-one would speak to her.

The Equality Tribunal found there were no disciplinary issues which would have warranted Conlon’s sacking and that she was victimised and dismissed over her complaint about the skirt.

It awarded her €1,600 for gender discrimination suffered and €6,500 for being victimised and dismissed.

Separately, a family-owned garden centre was forced to pay an immigrant worker €40,000 after victimising him.

Watters Garden World, of Roodstown, Ardee in Co Louth, reported its own employee to gardai for immigration offences after he complained about his treatment.

Moldovan national Iurie Panuta contacted the Equality Tribunal because his bosses did not organise a work permit for him nor provide him with P60 tax documents.

The company also failed to give Panuta, who had a basic grasp of English, a work contract and health and safety information in a language he could easily understand, it was found.

The worker first complained to the tribunal in January 2006 and when Watters Garden World was notified they reported him to gardai over his immigration status.

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