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Unfairly dismissed for questioning tips

Posted On: [07/03/2022]

The Labour Court in in Dublin has found that Julia Marciniak and Lenka Laiermanova were unfairly dismissed by the Ivy restaurant in Dublin and ordered the Ivy to pay almost €10,000 in compensation to two former waitresses after the Labour Court ruled they had been unfairly dismissed from their jobs because of their trade union activities.

The Ivy, which is operated by Troia (UK) Restaurants, claimed the two women were dismissed as a result of an incident at the Dawson Street restaurant on March 1, 2019 when they denied a customer an opportunity to leave a tip by credit card by claiming gratuities could only be paid in cash.

Both experienced waiters, they had worked at the high-profile restaurant on Dublin’s Dawson Street since soon after it opened in summer 2018. Hired on hourly rates of €10.55 and €12 plus 80 per cent of tips (20 per cent going to back of house staff), the set-up quickly turned sour for Ivy workers when tips and service charges were withheld and instead used to part-pay those contracted hourly rates, making up the difference between minimum wage and their stated pay.”

Julia Marciniak, originally from Poland, recalls working at the Ivy, how “management looking closely, always someone above your shoulders. You can feel it split you apart. As humiliating and stressful as it was, it was also in my head, they must be scared. I felt, well, I have some power.” After a series of suspensions, and incidents including covert recordings, it was alleged – in March 2019 – that the pair denied a customer an opportunity to leave a credit card tip, and that claimed the tip could only be cash. This was the reason the Ivy claimed they were sacked. However, the Labour Court found that not only were the company aware of their union activities, but they were sacked due to them.

The Irish Times says:

“When the initial problems arose at the Ivy, she thought: “Who will care about a few young migrant workers in transitory jobs?” But she was buoyed up by Unite’s support, by public support, by the publication of stories in The Irish Times, and revelation of the “unfair” tipping practices. Joan Collins highlighted the tips practice in the Dáil, and Unite’s Brendan Ogle “went beyond helping us”, says Marciniak.

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