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Sacked French woman awarded €10k for discrimination on the grounds of nationality

The woman was accused of making “over familiar” comments to other staff.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: Shutterstock/g-stockstudio

A FRENCH WOMAN who worked in a financial role for a Dublin-based company has been awarded €10,000 after the taking her previous employers to court for discrimination on the grounds of nationality.

The woman was sacked in the summer of 2017 after approximately two months at the firm. After she was let go she filed a number of complaints against the company including that she discriminated against because she was French, that she suffered harassment and victimisation and that the company failed to accommodate her disability.

During the first month of her employment the complainant had a number of difficulties with her computer. She said that she could not complete or save her work and, as IT staff were working on her machine for two hours every two to three days, this led to poor performance and accusations that she was taking long breaks.

The woman’s supervisor said she was deleting the formulas in excel and was manually inputting instead which was causing problems. She was also failing to complete tasks.

The computer was eventually replaced a month after the woman started working at the firm. She said that it should have been replaced within the first week.

The supervisor recorded the woman’s breaks after the machine was replaced and found that she continued to take long breaks and the performance issues persisted.

Weight loss

The company accused the woman of being rude and making “over familiar” comments to other staff. This included advising a pregnant colleague about weight loss and criticising the area where her supervisor lived. She was also accused of breaching company policy by contacting clients directly.

The woman suffers from a type of arthritis. She requested a new chair to help manage her disability but alleged that the company made her feel like a burden for doing this. She was then told she could bring in a new chair at her own cost.

The company rejected this version of events saying the woman was given a new chair two days after raising it as an issue and was told she could bring her own chair if she wished.

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The woman had not told the company about her condition when she was hired because it does not prevent her from working. The court found that the woman had not been discriminated against for her disability and the complaint failed.

The woman making a phone call in French, time keeping issues, performance, quality of training and a dispute over holiday pay also caused tension between the woman and her employer.

She was dismissed by the company less than two months after she took up the role.

After considering all the evidence the Workplace Relations Commission found that the woman was not afforded fair procedures and was discriminated against on the grounds of nationality because she was treated less favourably than other employees in a similar situation.

The woman’s complaints of disability discrimination, failure to reasonably accommodate a disability, harassment, and victimisation all failed.

About the author:

Céimin Burke

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