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Pregnant woman sacked by Wrights of Howth restaurant receives €15k compensation

Dorota Murat was fired five weeks after informing bosses she was pregnant.

File photo
File photo
Image: Goran Bogicevic via Shutterstock

A PREGNANT WOMAN who broke down in tears after being sacked by her boss at a Wrights of Howth operated restaurant telling her “business is business, enjoy your maternity” has received €15,000 compensation.

In the case under the Employment Acts, the Labour Court has found that the sacking of restaurant manager at the Wrights of Howth’s ‘Crabby Jo’s restaurant, Dorota Murat was “tainted by discrimination” and has awarded her €15,000.

Wrights of Howth Seafood Bars Ltd was appealing an Adjudication Officer’s discrimination award of €30,000 to Murat on the grounds of gender, and in its ruling, the Labour Court has now halved the amount due by the firm to her.

Murat joined the Howth restaurant in March 2015 and was on a six month probation period when sacked five weeks after she informed her bosses that she was pregnant on 8 May 2015.

In finding that Murat’s sacking was tainted with discrimination, the Labour Court found that the decision to dismiss Murat and the manner of its implementation was seriously lacking in adherence to its own disciplinary procedures.

The Court found that Murat was given no warnings, she was simply informed that her employment was terminated on 15 June 2015 following a request by her for a meeting to discuss her concerns.

The court stated that Murat – who was expecting her baby to be born on 16 September 2015 – 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 notifying the firm that she was pregnant on 8 May 2015 and she had not been subject to any disciplinary procedures.

Murat said that after she announced her pregnancy on 8 May, she felt that the atmosphere had changed and she was not included with her two bosses after that.

Murat said that when told that she was being let go, it came as a shock to her and she was not expecting it. She said that the meeting with her male boss sacking her lasted only two minutes and she received her P45 the next day.

The firm denied that the dismissal had anything to do with Murat’s pregnancy and all down to her poor work performance.

General manager and operations manager, Sean McAuliffe said that dismissing Murat was to ensure that the business did not deteriorate again. He said that he was concerned about staff morale, which he felt was being damaged by her approach to staff.

McAuliffe said that he dismissed Murat because no matter what he did to try and improve matters, there was no change in her performance, it was coming into their high season, and the company could not continue with problems.

Senior restaurant manager Sara Gross told the Labour Court that Murat’s performance continued to deteriorate and she was receiving complaints from staff about her.

Gross said that from the start there were issues with Murat’s performance, there was tension in the restaurant, she had an abrasive attitude towards staff and this was having a negative impact on staff.

Gross said that she was at breaking point with Murat’s performance and wrote her an email to Murat on 1 June 2015 outlining her difficulties with the performance.

A waiter/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.

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Gordon Deegan

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