Cat rescue asked to pay 8,000 euros to fired worker after refusal to work from home – The Irish Times

A cat rescue charity has been ordered to pay €8,000 in compensation for constructive dismissal to a disabled worker who was refused permission to work from home upon returning from sick leave after contracting Covid-19.

The Workplace Relations Committee (WRC) heard her boss sent a collective message that she was “sick” during her layoff in January 2021 — and that the charity took her laptop and phone away when she objected to working from an unheated storage unit in the winter.

Daniel Davis’ complaint against Phibsboro Cat Rescue under the Employment Equality Act 1998 was upheld by the WRC in a decision published Thursday.

Ms Davis said she has volunteered at the charity since 2018 and took on a full-time role as animal caretaker and veterinary liaison in November 2020 – a role that included arranging pet care and rescue and working on the charity’s social media.

She fell ill with Covid-19 over Christmas that year and had to take sick leave – something she said her boss was “disturbed” about because there was “work unfinished”.

Ms Davis gave evidence of depression and a weak immune system – adding that the infection was “hard on her”.

During her sick leave, she said, her boss mentioned in a group message that she was “supposedly ill,” a comment she said was distressing.

storage center

Her doctor assured her she was fit to return to work on January 28, but stated that she “couldn’t work in a cold place or do as much effort.”

Ms Davis told the court her employer had no problem with this at first, but then said she would be staying in a place described as a “storage centre”, a place she said was “very cold”, 40 hours a week. .

The storage unit was described as a “shed” with no running water and a door that did not close properly and had to be heated with portable heaters that were absent.

The complainant said she told her employer that the storage unit was “not a suitable place to work” and that afterwards, her boss arranged for a volunteer to come and collect the work phone and laptop.

She said no reason was given to prevent her from working from home and she was given no choice but to store.

Ms Davis said she “broke down” on February 1 when she met her doctor and signed on to work-related stress through the end of the month.

refuse the work

The court noted a February 1 letter from the defendant to Ms. Davis stating that she was “refused to act.”

On February 23, a day after telling her boss to extend her medical leave, she received a notice of dismissal, she said.

At Phibsboro Cat Rescue, attorney Barry Crachelle said Ms Davis was fired because she “was unsuitable for the organization” and was not notified of her underlying medical condition while on the job.

Officer Kevin Banneham said in his decision that the employee was fired due to a deteriorating relationship with the manager due to how the charity interacts with her disability and this amounts to discriminatory dismissal.