+353 (0) 1 211 8434 - info@aocsolicitors.ie -

- News

- News

WRC Awards €10,000 for Disability Discrimination

The Complainant in Aoife McGarry v. Temperature Ltd (ADJ-00045072) brought a claim against the Respondent under the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015 (“the Acts”), claiming she had been discriminated against on the grounds of disability. Ms McGarry was dismissed by the Respondent for failure to provide sick certs following a week of absence. The Respondent argued that they were unaware of the Complainant’s disability.


The Complainant started work with the Respondent on 19th September 2022 and around this time she suffered a family tragedy. She provided evidence that she informed the service desk manager at the time that she suffered from depression. However, this manager had left their employment with the Respondent prior to the hearing. The Complainant attended her probationary meeting on 16th March 2023 and was informed that her probation would be extended by two months. She broke down at the meeting and was unable to continue. She also informed her manager that she could not complete the rest of the day.

The next working day the Complainant emailed the Respondent and informed them that she had suffered a breakdown (her second in two weeks) and was seeking medical attention. She also outlined certain grievances she had in relation to the tasks she had been given and the HR Manager for the Respondent, directed her to the grievance procedure.

The following week, the Respondent wrote to the Complainant and dismissed her citing her failure to provide sick certs for the previous week as the reason. No manager from the Respondent had contacted the Complainant to request any sick cert and the Complainant provided evidence that she had attempted to send in a sick cert however the message had failed to send.

It was the Respondent’s evidence that due to the Complainant’s failure to follow policy, they changed their position in relation to her and decided to dismiss her.


The Adjudicator, David Murphy, stated that the explanation provided by the Respondent for the dismissal was “not reasonable by any objective standard”. While the Complainant had not informed the Respondent that she had a mental health condition, she suffered a number of breakdowns in front of them and had been on sick leave previously.Mr Murphy stated that he was satisfied that the Respondent had “constructive knowledge that the Complainant had a condition, illness or disease which affected her thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgment or which results in disturbed behaviour, which is provided for under the definition of disability in Section 2 the Acts.  The Adjudicator noted that the Respondent was no longer interested in improving the Complainant’s performance through an extended probationary period and had moved to dismiss her instead. He was satisfied that she would not have been treated in the manner she was treated, had she not broken down in her probation meeting and been too ill to attend work.

The Adjudicator awarded the Complainant €10,000 in compensation which would appear to be about 4 months’ pay but it should be noted that the Complainant had successfully obtained new employment within a month of her dismissal and this was noted by the Adjudicator. It is possible the award may have been higher had the Complainant not managed to obtain new employment so quickly.

Takeaway for Employers:

This case demonstrates that an employer can be deemed to have discriminated against an employee in respect of a disability even if they are not clearly on notice of the disability but could be said to have had “constructive” knowledge of it.

Links https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/cases/2024/may/adj-00045072.html

Authors – Ethna Dillon and Laura Killelea

19th June 2024

Anne O’Connell Solicitors

19-22 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2


If you found this article useful you might like our employment law newsletter. We write monthly articles, like this, covering interesting cases, decisions, news and developments in Ireland.

Related Articles