Men’s sauna club owner wins unfair dismissals case

Job loss caused family to burn their wooden flooring to keep warm

 Eamon Ryan (44), Burnscove, Kishykirk, Limerick, took the case against The Ambassador Court Hotel, trading as the Charleville Park Hotel, in Co Cork. Photograph:  Liam Burke/Press 22

Eamon Ryan (44), Burnscove, Kishykirk, Limerick, took the case against The Ambassador Court Hotel, trading as the Charleville Park Hotel, in Co Cork. Photograph: Liam Burke/Press 22

Wed, Apr 24, 2013, 06:00


A men’s sauna club owner has been awarded €25,000 after he was unfairly dismissed from his job at a Cork hotel.

Eamon Ryan (44), Burnscove, Kishykirk, Co Limerick, claimed he was fired from his position as leisure manager at the Charleville Park Hotel, because of a “homophobic reaction” to his other business.

During an Employment Appeals Tribunal heard in Limerick earlier this year, the 44-year-old insisted he was open and honest about the men’s sauna club in Shannon and said he was a director of the business but did not work there.

The tribunal heard he was fired from his €38,000 position at the Charleville Park Hotel in August 2010 after working there for two years.

The married father took a case of unfair dismissals against Ambassador Court Ltd, trading as the Charleville Park Hotel, Co Cork.

He disputed he had breached his contract of employment with the hotel by being involved with his other business and he also contended that the covenant upon which his employer sought to rely on was neither binding nor enforceable.


“Horrendous” impact
In her evidence Niamh Ryan said her husband’s dismissal had a “horrendous” impact on their financial situation and that at one stage the couple had to burn a floor in their house in order to heat their home.

Brendan Comerford, the general manager of the hotel, told the tribunal he received an anonymous phone call on July 29th, 2010 to inform him that Mr Ryan was involved in a business outside of the hotel which should “be of interest” to his employers.

Mr Comerford said the issue was with Mr Ryan’s dishonesty and breach of contract and had nothing to do with the nature of his other business.

However Mr Ryan claimed that in one of the meetings with management of the hotel he was met with a “knee-jerk homophobic reaction”.

Mr Comerford insisted it was Mr Ryan who first referred to the orientation of his clientele at the club and the “pink pound”. He admitted it was not said in Mr Ryan’s contract that a breach of contract was a dismissible offence.

He said Mr Ryan was given the opportunity to give up his shares in the club but refused.

In its determination the Employment Tribunal found Mr Ryan had no previous disciplinary record and noted his evidence that his other business did not interfere with his day to day position at the hotel.