Waitress loses union membership dismissal action against The Ivy

Failing to act as employer wanted was main factor in sacking, WRC finds

 Former Ivy waitress Julia Marciniak.

Former Ivy waitress Julia Marciniak.

 

A waitress who first raised concerns over the payment of tips to staff at the Ivy restaurant in Dublin has lost her claim that she was dismissed wholly due to her trade-union membership.

In the case, Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) adjudicator Hugh Lonsdale found that Julia Marciniak’s membership of the Unite trade union was a factor but not the only factor in her dismissal.

Mr Lonsdale found that Ms Marciniak’s refusal to behave as her employer expected was the major factor and that this was the most important factor in the attrition between the waitress and the restaurant.

Mr Lonsdale dismissed Ms Marciniak’s claim as her dismissal did not result wholly or mainly from her union membership.

Unite told the WRC hearing that the issue over the tips was reported in a December 2018 Irish Times restaurant review, which also praised Ms Marciniak for the service she provided.

Ms Marciniak was dismissed in April 2019 after being told that she was “unable to perform the role to the standard that is required by the company”.

‘Flagrant flaws’

Unite senior officer Brendan Ogle confirmed on Tuesday that the Marciniak case was one of two cases concerning former Ivy restaurant workers where the WRC has thrown out the workers’ claims that they had been dismissed wholly due to their trade-union membership. Mr Ogle said the two rulings “show up flagrant flaws in the legislation”.

He said the rulings were “very useful by identifying serious faults in the legislation and accurately reflect appalling workers’-rights legislation here”.

He said both cases had been appealed to the Labour Court. He added: “These are very important cases.”

Ms Marciniak is now employed by Unite as the union’s hospitality and tourism co-ordinator.

Speaking after the publication of the decision, Ms Marciniak said: “I know we were sacked for our union activity and nothing else and for that reason we have appealed.”

The 37-year-old said she had found her dismissal from the Ivy “extremely stressful”.

The Ivy declined to comment on the WRC outcome.