A company that operates the €50m four-star Hyatt Centric hotel in Dublin fired a sales manager three weeks after telling her bosses she was pregnant.
Orkplace Relations Commission (WRC) Arbitrator John Harraghy has ordered Realmside Ltd, trading as Hyatt Centric, to pay €85,000 in damages to Orla O’Keeffe after concluding that the dismissal was based on the sex of Ms O’Keeffe and a breach of workplace equality.
Mr Harraghy said the hotel company was unable to prove that Ms O’Keeffe’s redundancy was unrelated to her pregnancy.
Hyatt Centric chief executive Declan Curtis said The hotel had only taken note of the WRC’s decision and planned to appeal against it.
“The hotel would not tolerate or practice any form of discrimination against its employees in the workplace and has an excellent track record as an employer in this regard,” he said.
the Hyatt Centric, near St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, opened in January 2020 and is the O’Sullivan family owned Hodson Bay Group’s first foray into the Dublin market.
The hotel was temporarily closed on March 20, 2020 due to Covid-19 and Mrs O’Keeffe became pregnant the same month.
Ms O’Keeffe told the hearing that she informed the hotel’s manager on May 6, 2020 that she was pregnant and informed the commercial director on May 8.
On May 27, Ms O’Keeffe was called to a meeting and informed by the hotel manager that her position was no longer “financially viable” and that she would be fired on June 5.
In evidence of this, Ms O’Keeffe – who took up her role on June 4, 2019 – confirmed that she had not received any explanation as to the reasons for being “financially viable” and had no opportunity to make statements on her own behalf.
Derek Dunne BL, acting on behalf of Kearns Heffernan Foskin Solicitors, brought the case to the WRC on behalf of Ms O’Keeffe, but no one attended the WRC hearing on behalf of Hyatt Centric.
Mr Harraghy explained that the only evidence of the Hyatt Centric was a letter sent to the WRC on November 11, 2020.
“I was not able to verify or test the details contained in this letter at the hearing and I give no weight to this submission,” he said.
Mr Harraghy found the hotel’s failure to provide Ms O’Keeffe with written details for which her dismissal was intended Reasons unrelated to her pregnancy and maternity “lead me to the conclusion that this was a discriminatory dismissal based on the applicant’s sex”.
Mr Harraghy said Ms O’Keeffe suffered a loss of earnings and her statutory right to maternity leave “and clearly suffered a great deal of stress and distress as a result of her dismissal”.
As evidence, Ms O’Keeffe confirmed that she understands the challenges of Covid-19 and is willing to consider a shift within the group or other alternatives, but her employer has not discussed, investigated, or offered alternatives to dismissal.
Ms O’Keeffe indicated that she had to move as a result of her dismissal and suffered financial and non-financial loss and damage as a result of the dismissal.
https://www.independent.ie/business/jobs/50m-four-star-hyatt-centric-hotel-group-made-sales-director-redundant-after-she-told-them-she-was-pregnant-41417615.html The €50m four-star hotel group Hyatt Centric fired its sales manager after telling them she was pregnant