Airport manager was fired over disputed ‘kiss’ with colleague

CCTV showed Albert Fordjour ‘leaning towards’ female employee as she exited a lift

A male duty manager at a Dublin Airport-based food franchise firm lost his senior post after a disputed “kiss” incident with a junior female colleague.

In the case, Select Service Partner Ireland, trading as SSP Ireland, fired Albert Fordjour arising from the incident in March 2016 outside a lift at the airport.

In the incident, Mr Fordjour was waiting for a lift to open and, after it did, a junior female employee from one of the units he supervised exited. As she did so, Mr Fordjour placed his arm around her shoulder and pulled her towards him.

The woman said that he tried to kiss her on the cheek or on the lips while Mr Fordjour maintains that he was hugging her as he was of the view that they were friends and did not attempt to kiss her in any way.


Fifteen days later, the woman made a complaint to the SSP Ireland regarding the incident and this culminated in Mr Fordjour’s sacking in May 2016.

SSP Ireland fired Mr Fordjour for gross misconduct and found that his behaviour was unacceptable and incompatible with his status as a manager in a position of authority.

Mr Fordjour claimed unfair dismissal and an adjudication officer found that his claim was well founded, that he was unfairly dismissed and ordered that he be re-instated.

However, SSP Ireland appealed this ruling to the Labour Court and the Labour Court’s examination of CCTV of the incident shows Mr Fordjour “leaning towards her but is inconclusive on the question of whether he tried to kiss her on either the lips or the cheek”.

Mr Fordjour did admit to placing his hand on the employee and to pulling her towards him to hug her.

In its determination, the Labour Court found Mr Fordjour’s behaviour “unacceptable, and an invasion of her right to bodily integrity”.

The court stated that it found Mr Fordjour’s actions as “an abuse of authority in the workplace that cannot be treated lightly”.

The Court also found Mr Fordjour’s explanation of his actions as a friendly gesture of salutation that he made while speaking on the phone as “wholly unconvincing”.

The court further found that such action without a context of consent would warrant dismissal.

However, it said Mr Fordjour wasn’t afforded fair procedure by his employer in the investigation in that it failed to interview two witnesses put forward by him who would give evidence on the relationship between Mr Fordjour and the woman.

The court found that in those circumstances that the dismissal was unfair. In its recommendation, the court recommended that SSP Ireland re-employ Mr Fordjour but that he demoted to one level below duty manager level and pay to be associated with the new role.

The court has ruled that Mr Fordjour commence his work from Monday, January 8th and the period from the date he was sacked in May 2016 to January 8th be considered as a period of suspension without pay.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times