Sacked chambermaid awarded €5,000 for unfair dismissal

Hotel argues poor performance but claimant’s version of events deemed ‘more credible’

The Workplace Relations Commission has awarded €5,000 to a hotel chambermaid after finding that she was dismissed for her trade union activities.

On July 10th of last year, the woman and Siptu member – concerned at the number of colleagues who had been dismissed by the hotel – distributed union application forms to colleagues and encouraged them to join Siptu.

However, seven days later, the chambermaid was taken aside by a manager who let her go.

Commission adjudication officer Emer O’Shea found the hotel’s reason for dismissal unconvincing and that on the balance of probabilities the woman was dismissed for her trade union activities.


According to the commission report the manager refused to return the former employee’s’s calls and on July 31st, 2015, the woman sought reasons for her dismissal in writing. But the hotel firm did not respond.

None of the parties are named in the report and the chambermaid had only started work with the hotel in April of last year.

Siptu told the hearing that the staff member had worked for the hotel for two months without any complaints being raised about her work.

Siptu argued that issues in relation to the woman’s work arose only after she was seen meeting with a union official on June 26th and she was dismissed one week after handing out union applications to her colleagues.

Performance review

In response, the hotel firm said that the woman prior to her dismissal was moved to clean common areas because of poor performance.

The hotel said an appraisal review took place with the manager on July 17th but the woman’s performance had not improved and, consequently, she was sacked.

The firm refuted the allegation of dismissal for trade union activities.

Ms O’Shea said the parties had offered polarised accounts of the circumstances around the dismissal.

“On the basis of the direct evidence . . . I found the claimant’s version of events to be more credible and convincing than the version advanced at the hearing by the respondent,” she said.

Ms O’Shea said the hotel firm issued the woman with a contract for employment on July 5th, two weeks before she was dismissed.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times