€9,500 Awarded to Woman Fired by her Ex-Husband

The Workplace Relations Commission was directed a publican, retailer and post office operator to pay his ex-wife €9,500 for her unfair dismissal from the family business.

The woman was relieved of her position in the family business during June 2019 after an investigation into her ‘top-up’ withdrawals of €1,000 at a time from the business to the couple’s personal joint account.

The woman – who was also a director of the business – took a legal action for unfair dismissal to the Workplace Relations Commission as a result of this.

Ms McElduff told the hearing that the manner of her termination from her position had fallen “far short of the requirements of any fair disciplinary procedure” and added that she was not forewarned that she may be dismissed.

The hearing was told that an independent investigator discovered that, from February 5, 2018, and February 14, 2019, €25,160 was transferred online to the joint personal bank account of the husband and wife in 19 separate transactions.

In addition to this, from August 31, 2017, and November 30, 2018, a total of €30,250 in 29 separate transactions was also lodged into the joint personal bank account of the husband and wife as cash lodgements. The husband said he exercised no control over the joint account.

She was informed, in a letter of dismissal that this was “totally unacceptable”. The complainant told the hearing that she had been advised by an accountant in the company’s accountancy practice that she could top up her wages by withdrawals of €1,000. She added that she was certain that she had transferred the money in a transparent manner.

The married couple split up during September 2017 and the woman has issued judicial separation proceedings.

Presifing WRC adjudication officer Anne McElduff ruled the woman’s claim was well founded.