Galway firm fired 'disruptive and argumentative' sales executive after four days

Richard Tóibín alleged that he was unfairly dismissed and in response to his claim under the Industrial Relations Act, Ms Cunningham has recommended that the firm pay Mr Tóibín €770 or two weeks’ pay as a gesture.
Galway firm fired 'disruptive and argumentative' sales executive after four days

Gordon Deegan

A Galway based sales group dismissed a “disruptive and argumentative’ residentialfField sales executive after only four days in the job.

Richard Tóibín commenced work with Sales Sense International Ltd on September 28th, 2020 and was dismissed over the phone four days later on October, 1st 2020.

As part of his new role, Mr Tóibín was required to undertake a training course in order to become proficient in the product he was selling and general compliance and sales principals.

However, the sales firm based at the Ballybrit Business Park outside Galway city told the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) that throughout the training Mr Tóibín “was disruptive and argumentative”.

The firm said that it took into account Mr Toibin’s length of service of four days and dismissed him on October 1st.

In his evidence, Mr Tóibín recalled that his ‘very agitated’ line manager “told me I was terminated, that I no longer worked for Sales Sense and that I would receive four days’ pay”.

He said: “When I told her that I would take legal proceedings, contact senior management, and the Irish media, she made a dismissive sound and said “Yeah, you do that” and then cut the call.”

Mr Tóibín stated that he began training on Monday, September 28th 2020 as a Residential Field Sales Executive with Sales Sense online, while residing at a Bed & Breakfast.

Mr Tóibín alleged that he was unfairly dismissed and in response to his claim under the Industrial Relations Act, Ms Cunningham has recommended that the firm pay Mr Tóibín €770 or two weeks’ pay as a gesture.

Disciplinary hearing

Ms Cunningham concluded that the correct course of action would have been for the employer to have written to Mr Tóibín to call him to an investigation and disciplinary hearing.

Ms Cunningham said as the employer failed to do so, and as a gesture towards the expenses incurred by Mr Tóibín in trying to ensure good attendance at the training, she recommended the employer offer Mr Tóibín the sum of €770 compensation.

Mr Tóibín also alleged that he was discriminated against by Sales Sense International Ltd on the grounds of gender and that he was sexually harassed by a trainer in the training course he undertook.

However, WRC Adjudicator, Gaye Cunningham has dismissed all other claims.

In relation to the gender discrimination claim, Ms Cunningham stated that Mr Tóibín has not established a prima facie case and his complaint to be not well-founded.

In response to Mr Tóibín’s sexual harassment claim, Ms Cunningham found that Mr Tóibín  raised no complaint of sexual harassment to his employer and no detail of such alleged harassment in clear terms with names of alleged perpetrators.

Ms Cunningham said that Mr Tóibín provided some general evidence of alleged unsavoury comments made during the course of his four-day training course by someone or two people.

Termination call

Ms Cunninghham said: “This I find cannot substantiate such a serious allegation of sexual harassment as levelled at the Respondent.

“I do not find his complaint to be well founded.”

Over three hours into the hearing, a manager for the firm commented when being cross-examined by Mr Tóibín that she still did not know what his trainer was accused of by Mr Tóibín.

According to Sales Sense International, after his termination call, Mr Tóibín emailed the firm's press office and threatened the recipients of the firm’s generic press office email that he intended to take legal action and “would be seeking to make this a topic of conversation in the Irish Media”.

Mr Tóibín in this correspondence threatened “I am giving you advance warning as there will be negative press for Sales Sense, and I will be discussing induction and training. Not only was there sexual harassment in the workplace, but also political discrimination.”

The firm pointed out that Mr Tóibín had not raised sexual harassment, political or familial discrimination prior to this.

A manager with the firm said that Mr Tóibín was aggrieved he was let go during the training period as he had purchased a laptop and stayed in a B&B in order to attend the online classes.

The firm stated that no allegations of sexual harassment were notified to them during Mr Tóibín’s period of employment.

The company stated that Mr Tóibín alleged that unsubstantiated and unspecified sexual harassment had occurred following his dismissal to the press office but has not given any detail as to what these allegations were in writing to the firm to allow them to carry out an investigation.

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