The former bar manager of a Dublin GAA club claims she was falsely fired because she objected to the illicit consumption of alcohol in the clubhouse during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Eileen Grimes has made a Wrongful Termination Act complaint against St Mark’s GAA Club, McGee Park, Cookstown Road, Tallaght, Dublin 24 for being ‘locked out’ of work in April 2020.
“The locks were changed because I caught people drinking in the clubhouse,” he told the Labor Relations Commission.
The club denied the circumstances alleged by Ms Grimes and maintained that she was duly dismissed due to the impact of the pandemic.
His representative stated that he had filed his complaint some 16 months after his employment ended and was therefore outside the jurisdiction of the WRC.
“I still have my keys, they have never let me back. In light of what individuals have done…there was no place for me,” Ms Grimes told the court.
Ms Grimes said that the security of the bar premises was part of her job, and that she downloaded CCTV footage of the alleged incident from an outside vendor.
She said she then received correspondence from the provider saying she was no longer allowed to access that service.
He said that even though his employment ended, he continued to receive phone calls and emails from vendors and regarding clubhouse issues.
Ms Grimes added that it was “rich” for the club’s legal team to realize she had filed a late complaint when she had only received her submissions the day before the hearing.
He had been told by the club that he would return to a voluntary model, he said, adding that he had accepted his dismissal on this basis to begin with.
He argued that his rights were breached when the club re-advertised his role in June 2021 and that his complaint form should be accepted on that basis.
“The circumstances are denied. The dismissal was related to the covid”, said the legal representative of the club, Kathryn Brady.
Ms Brady added that there were further preliminary questions, including the right of Ms Grimes to take action against the club when she was a member herself; and the correct identity of the defendant.
He added that the position being advertised was for a clubhouse manager and not a bar manager, but Ms. Grimes responded that her previous duties had been incorporated into this position.
Club chairman Gary Mahon said there would be “no problem” with Grimes coming to retrieve his belongings.
“I have met Mrs. Grimes previously and invited her to the club from a social point of view,” he added.
Adjudicating Officer Catherine Byrne adjourned the matter to prepare a decision on the preliminary question of jurisdiction.
“If we get past that hurdle, it will be heard,” he said.