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News : Dismissed O2 Worker Awarded €36,342
May 12, 2014 -- The Employment Appeals Tribunal ruled the Irish arm of mobile phone provider O2’s dismissal of a Limerick call centre worker "was highly disproportionate, undeserved, and unreasonable".
In its ruling, the EAT has ordered Telefonica Ireland Ltd, trading as O2 Ireland, to pay Lisa McCaffrey €36,342 after finding that the woman was unfairly dismissed from O2’s Limerick-based call centre.
In its determination, the EAT stated that TIL "over-reacted" to Ms McCaffrey’s "alleged shortcomings and was far too fast to subject her to a disciplinary process".
TIL dismissed Ms McCaffrey for "gross misconduct". However, the EAT stated that when an employer takes that course of action, the employer "needs to be able to defend and justify that sanction".
The EAT stated that TIL has not done that in this case. The EAT stated that while Ms McCaffrey "may have been amiss at times, she was certainly not deviant or dishonest as an employee".
The EAT report stated: "On the contrary, her work rate and contribution to her employer was well-regarded and constructive."
The company accused Ms McCaffrey of gross misconduct after claiming the time she spent on "life hanging" and "voicemail manipulation" was unproductive.
Ms McCaffrey admitted engaging in those practices, but stated that she never breached data protection legislation. She told the tribunal that at no point did she avoid work.
Ms McCaffrey commenced work with TIL as a customer care executive in February 2007 and she was dismissed in April 2011.
She worked with the firm’s Reach Out department, whose main role was to contact customers whose contracts were close to ending and trying to persuade them to renew those contracts.
Reach Out’s staff were subjected to targets and at the hearing, Ms McCaffrey said pressure to reach targets had become so intense she had no time to give to personal needs at work.
The EAT report said Ms McCaffrey’s dismissal followed on from her suffering a family bereavement.
Ms McCaffrey said that she initially loved her job. She was sacked after a company examination of her call record between June 2010 and February 2011. However, Ms McCaffrey told the EAT that the list of calls from that period presented by the firm only represented a tiny proportion of the calls she was involved in that during that period.
Finding in her favour, the EAT awarded Ms McCaffrey €35,000 for unfair dismissal and an additional €1,342 for the entitlement of two weeks’ pay.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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More Editorial From O2
O2 plc has 100% ownership of mobile network operators in three countries - the UK, Germany and Ireland - as well as a mobile Internet portal business. All of these businesses are branded as ''O2''.
Telefónica, S.A. is a Spanish broadband and telecommunications provider with operations in Europe, Asia, North America and South America,. Operating globally, it is the sixth-largest mobile network provider in the world.
Published: Tuesday, May 13, 2014