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Dental Practice Manager Awarded €15,000 for “Cruel” Unfair Dismissal

posted 7 months ago

In Zsuzsanna Budai v Acd Practice Management Ltd (Ardum Clinic) ADJ-00037391, the Complainant, Ms Budai, bought a claim to the Workplace Relations Commission (the “WRC”) that she was unfairly dismissed from her employment in the Respondent dental practice. The Complainant further claimed that she did not receive her full salary in December 2021, and that she did not receive her statutory notice pay. The WRC Adjudicator, Lefre de Burgh, upheld all three of the Complainant’s claims, awarding her a total of €19,030. There was no attendance at the hearing on behalf of the Respondent.

Facts: The Complainant was employed by the Respondent as a practice manager/receptionist. She worked in the practice from 2013 and worked for the Respondent from 2016 after a TUPE process. The new owner of the practice, Dr Borbala Csordas, had worked in the practice as a dentist before she bought the business and the Complainant told the WRC that she had a good relationship with her prior to her dismissal in December 2021. The Complainant received a pay rise, Christmas bonuses, and even a staff holiday paid for by the Respondent.

However, the Complainant told the WRC that she felt that Dr Csordas became stressed and burnt out as she was regularly out sick from work. This had a negative effect on the business’s finances. Towards the end of her employment, the Complainant was sometimes paid late, or not paid the full amount that was owed to her. Other staff members left the practice, partly due to the financial difficulties of the business, however the Complainant said she was doing her best to assist Dr Csordas during this time.

On 7th December 2021, the Complainant was told by Dr Csordas that she may not be able to afford a receptionist from January and then became verbally abusive towards the Complainant. The Complainant was shocked by this as she had not experienced this treatment from Dr Csordas before. She asked the Respondent if she was fired. The Complainant said there was “no discussion” and this was the only conversation that took place around the termination of her employment. Furthermore, the Complainant’s final payment of wages was €750 less than expected, as she had been told she would be paid up to 31st December. The Complainant also did not receive notice pay, either her statutory notice or the “extra month” that Dr Csordas told her she would receive.

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