Ryanair offers four weeks pay to employee alleging post-traumatic stress
Airline denies unfair dismissal, saying employee acted in a ‘vindictive manner’
Ryanair denies woman was unfairly dismissed and says it will fight the case, possibly involving up to nine days of evidence at the Employment Appeals Tribunal. Photograph: PA
Ryanair has offered four weeks’ pay to a former employee who alleges she suffered post-traumatic stress from working in the company.
But the airline denies Magdelena Schramel was unfairly dismissed and says it will fight the case, possibly involving up to nine days of evidence at the Employment Appeals Tribunal.
Ms Schramel, who was dismissed in September 2011 from her job as a roster organiser, would not accept the pay without an admission from Ryanair that she had been unfairly dismissed, said Michael Landers, of Impact trade union who represented her.
He said metaphorically speaking there had been “carnage” and “blood-spilled” during her time at Ryanair. She had felt she was unfairly dismissed and unfairly treated, he added.
The tribunal chairman adjourned the case yesterday afternoon until this morning saying he hoped both sides could reach an agreement instead of contesting a lengthy and costly case involving possibly 24 witnesses.
“We expect to hear a bit of common sense on both sides,” said chairman Dermot McCarthy.
The tribunal ruled earlier yesterday that Ms Schramel had not suffered a loss of earnings after her dismissal because she had withdrawn from the labour market after being diagnosed by a psychiatrist as unfit to work and after enrolling in college. She would only be entitled to a maximum of four weeks pay, for a job that earned her €28,000 per year, in the event that she was found to have been dismissed unfairly, it added.
Counsel for Ryanair said it would offer four weeks’ pay but would not admit any liability. While Ms Schramel was satisfied with the amount she could not accept the lack of admission of unfair dismissal, said Mr Landers.
The tribunal heard that Ms Schramel had in a “vindictive manner” sent a letter to St John of God’s alleging that one of her Ryanair bosses had a “personality disorder”, said Frank Beatty, counsel for Ryanair. This had caused him “huge anxiety and upset”, Mr Beatty added.
But Ms Schramel alleged that she developed post-traumatic stress during her time in Ryanair and on two occasions was out of work for prolonged periods because of this, during which she was not paid her salary.
A letter from her doctor, following the periods of being out of work, said she had suffered three nervous breakdowns and that the company was refusing to pay her while on sick leave.
The doctor added there was concern her health was worsening and that the “continued stress” was impacting on her. Ms Schramel wished to resolve the issue “amicably”, the letter added.
The case resumes today.