A PREGNANT WOMAN who broke down in tears after being told ”business is business, enjoy your maternity” at a Wrights of Howth-operated restaurant has received €15,000 in compensation.
The Labour Court found that the sacking of restaurant manager Dorota Murat from the company’s Crabby Jo’s restaurant was “tainted by discrimination”.
Wrights of Howth Seafood Bars Ltd had appealing an adjudication officer’s earlier award that handed Murat €30,000 on the grounds of gender discrimination. In its decision, the Labour Court halved the amount due to the former manager.
Murat joined the Howth restaurant in March 2015 and was on a six-month probation period when she was sacked. The move came five weeks after she informed her bosses that she was pregnant.
However the Labour Court found that the decision to dismiss Murat and the manner in which it was done was seriously lacking when it came to following the firm’s own disciplinary procedures.
The court found that Murat was given no warnings but was simply informed that her employment would be terminated in mid-June following her request for a meeting to discuss some concerns.
Murat – who was expecting her baby to be born in mid-September – was given no opportunity to make representations on her own behalf.
In its ruling, the court found that no issues had been raised with Murat’s performance prior to her notifying the firm that she was pregnant, and she had not been subject to any disciplinary procedures.
A different atmosphere
Murat said that the atmosphere changed after she announced she was pregnant, and she was not included in discussions with her two bosses after that.
She said that it came as a shock when she was told that she was being let go. The meeting with her male boss lasted only two minutes, and she received her P45 the next day, Murat claimed.
The firm denied that the dismissal had anything to do with her pregnancy, and that it was all down to her poor work performance.
Wrights of Howth’s general manager, Sean McAuliffe, said that Murat was dismissed to ensure the business did not deteriorate further. He said that he was concerned about staff morale, which he felt was being damaged by her management approach.
McAuliffe said that he dismissed Murat because there had been no change in her performance and the company could not continue experiencing problems coming into its high season.
Senior restaurant manager Sara Gross told the Labour Court that Murat’s performance had continued to deteriorate and she was receiving complaints from staff.
She said Murat had an abrasive attitude towards workers and this was having a negative impact on them.
A waiter and barman at the restaurant, Steven Ray, said that after Murat commenced working as a manager, he found that the restaurant was badly organised, there were customer complaints and a decrease in tips.