Mother and daughter win Avondale case

A MOTHER and daughter have won their cases of constructive dismissal against Avondale Nursing Home in Callan.

A MOTHER and daughter have won their cases of constructive dismissal against Avondale Nursing Home in Callan.

The Employment Appeals Tribunal heard that Miriam Holmes and her daughter Hayley, who are both directors of the nursing home were unavailable. It is the third time that Miriam Holmes has failed to appear before the tribunal. “I received a call from Australia that both parties are in Australia on a family matter but they would not be specific,” Employment Law Consultant, Angela Grimshaw said.

Evidence was heard at the tribunal, which sat in the Rivercourt Hotel on Monday of constant bullying and harassment which forced Mary and her daughter Erica Dunne (23) to leave their employment.

Erica Dunne outlined an incident in September 2008 where she was told to work on after her shift and care for a patient who was having ‘a very violent episode’. She started work at 11.30am and was due to finish at 7.30pm. “I was due to be in at 7.30 the following morning. I was recked tired, starving and hadn’t had a toilet break,” Ms Erica Dunne said. When Erica Dunne asked her employer if someone could relieve her after her shift Ms Miriam Holmes told her ‘she had better stay if she wants to keep her f**king job”. The following morning when Ms Dunne went to work she was told she was suspended because of an ‘alleged breach of code of conduct’. “I was not aware of a nurse’s code of conduct as I am not a nurse. I stayed with the patient until Hayley came to relieve me. I don’t know what she was going to investigate.”

“Stupid girl”

On a separate occasion Ms Miriam Holmes called the defendant a ‘stupid girl’. “She shoved me up the stairs and said you stupid girl and another member of staff went and got my mother, who was the shop steward,” she said. A short time later Erica Dunne fell ill due to stress and anxiety and was out of work on medical grounds for a number of weeks. Both Mary and Erica Dunne resigned from their posts on October 31, 2009 because of bullying and harassment in their workplace.

A SIPTU official at the hearing confirmed that there are five other cases being brought of behalf of former employees against the nursing home.Compensation will be awarded to both parties over the coming weeks. Denis Hynes of SIPTU welcomed the outcome which found that both women had been constructively dismissed from the nursing home. “