Employment LawGeneral News

WRC orders Irish Distillers to pay €35,000 to former employee

By July 13, 2023 No Comments
Workplace Relations Commission

The WRC, Workplace adjudication body determines that former Irish Distillers employee was unfairly dismissed, awarding her €35,000 compensation.


Yvonne Foley was dismissed from her role at an Irish Distillers restaurant in Midleton in September 2019. She claimed that she was only four minutes late for work, and as a result, she was fired by the company. The company maintained that this had been a pattern with Ms Foley. She was four minutes late but unable to work after clocking in because she was hungover. There had been a consistent pattern of lateness, with her being late 91 times, according to the former employer. Ms Foley admitted that she had used alcohol to manage a long-standing anxiety disorder, and she struggled with workplace stress.

Ms Foley had been subject to a prior written warning earlier in 2019. As a result of this, the company dismissed her in September 2019. Ms Foley claimed that the dismissal was unfair and brought a claim to the Workplace Relations Commission.

WRC determination

The WRC adjudication officer agreed that Ms Foley had been unfairly dismissed. The company sought to rely upon the written warning given earlier in 2019. However, the adjudication officer found that this warning was no longer ‘live’ because the written warning was a first written warning. The company’s own policy did not permit the employer to act as it had done. The adjudicator stated that it appeared the company was improvising rather than following its own policy.

Irish Distillers was ordered to pay Ms Foley €35,000 compensation for the dismissal.

The decision is not only a useful reminder of the importance of having internal disciplinary policies to address issues that may arise with employees, but more importantly, the necessity to ensure that the policy is followed when considering the dismissal an employee on account of conduct.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*

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