Irish Wix worker who was unfairly dismissed for criticising Israel on social media feels ‘blacklisted’

Courtney Carey tells WRC she lost apartment after being sacked and has only been able to find lower-paid work since

Courtney Carey is now working with An Post on a temporary contract. Photograph: Colin Keegan / Collins Dublin

Technology firm Wix has admitted unfairly dismissing an Irish worker who made social media posts criticising Israel and now feels she has been “blacklisted”.

Courtney Carey told the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) on Wednesday that she lost her apartment after being sacked from her job as a manager last October and had only been able to find lower-paid work in a different sector on a temporary contract since.

“It was like I was blacklisted from the tech sector. There were multiple tweets, LinkedIn posts, all within that circle regarding me as a person who supports terrorism,” Ms Carey told the tribunal.

“I tried to apply for as many jobs and opportunities on the same pay scale. I was never successful despite the interviews I did. I felt I was discriminated against based on the media coverage,” Ms Carey said.


Her claim under the Unfair Dismissals Act 1977 against Wix Online Platforms Ltd opened before the employment tribunal on Wednesday morning.

Rosemary Mallon, appearing for Wix, said: “It has been conceded that it was procedurally unfair. We are only here to discuss compensation”.

Ms Carey’s barrister, Cillian McGovern, said his client’s gross pay had dropped from €40,000 a year to €25,567 after she spent months unemployed.

Ms Carey’s solicitor, Barry Crushell, said the “very public nature of the dismissal” had a “very direct impact on her career prospects”.

However, Ms Mallon argued that the worker’s lawyers had failed to provide documentary evidence supporting her account of efforts to mitigate her losses by finding new work.

The tribunal was told Ms Carey had applied for about 60 jobs since her dismissal, and was now working as an An Post clerk in a frontline customer service position on a temporary contract.

In evidence, Ms Carey said that because Wix had decided she had committed gross misconduct and dismissed her on that basis, she was unable to claim social welfare as soon as she was out of work.

“Since my dismissal I was unable to pay my rent of €1,800 in a studio apartment,” Ms Carey said. “I lost that apartment, I had to move in with a family member. It was so hard to live off [social welfare] while paying that €1,800 rent. That was incredibly difficult, I really suffered from that.”

Addressing what her barrister referred to as “litany of applications”, Ms Carey said: “For all of these applications bar [a recruitment agency] ... I received no response whatsoever. These were all jobs I was qualified for and had relevant experience based on the job specifications. [The recruitment agency] said: ‘Was I dismissed?’ I said yes. They never spoke to me again regarding any job applications through that agency.”

She said her experience with Wix was in “people management” and “managing teams” and that she had initially been seeking new work at that level. She said she later began to apply for more junior roles, including work as a bartender in a nightclub.

In cross-examination, Ms Mallon put it to the complainant that there had been “a hell of a lot more than 60″ job vacancies in the time she was out of work, but that her efforts to mitigate loss amounted to applying for “two to three jobs a week”, putting it to her that this was insufficient.

Counsel told the witness there were more vacancies available at the time Ms Carey was out of work and that her duty was to “apply for everything” – pointing her to a job with eBay as a customer service executive. Ms Carey said she had worked at eBay before, and knew that the roles Ms Mallon was referring to were “more junior”.

Mr McGovern began his re-examination of the witness by referring to a podcast appearance by the CEO of Wix on November 28th last year, but Ms Mallon objected to the question as “inappropriate” and it was disallowed.

Ms Mallon put it to her that there were “lots of people in support of your position”, including a public fundraiser and the support of politicians, which Ms Carey accepted.

Ms Carey went on to say: “It was like I was blacklisted from the tech sector. There were multiple tweets, LinkedIn posts, all within that circle regarding me as a person who supports terrorism. I felt it incredibly difficult to have a conversation with people and dispute the claims made about me online.”

“I would have great interviews, conversations with people, and as soon as my previous employment was brought up – [there were] what I would assume to be background checks done on me – every line went cold,” Ms Carey said.

“Please share far and wide; lets get her a new job before the week is out,” Ms Mallon said, quoting one online post. She said that – and other social media activity – “doesn’t suggest your reputation has been damaged the way you allege”.

“I would have to disagree. The most popular tweets regarding my situation have been majority negative,” Ms Carey said.

The adjudicator, Ms Flynn, closed the hearing and said she would issue her decision in due course.