A BARMAN who was sacked after customers complained he had been drunk on the job and messing up orders has been awarded €3,000 after taking a case to the Employment Appeals Tribunal.
Gerard Clery, of Cappalaheen, Kilkishen, County Clare, denied drinking while on duty at the Mall Bar, Sandmall, on the night of Easter Sunday, April 4, 2010.
Bar owner Pat Cowhey gave evidence of having dismissed Mr Clery arising from complaints. Mr Cowhey said he had had reason “on numerous occasions” to warn Mr Clery to cut down on his drinking. He had seen evidence of this himself and had also received complaints from customers.
Mr Cowhey’s niece was working on Easter Sunday and called her uncle to tell her Mr Clery was drunk on duty. He received calls from customers making the same claim.
One customer who appeared at the tribunal hearing in Limerick said the capacity of the Mall Bar was only 20, a number any barman could handle. But on the night in question, Mr Clery had been slow to serve or was handing out the wrong orders. While the customer admitted she had not seen him drinking, she said Mr Clery had been “nipping in and out the back all the time” and that he had smelled of drink. Another customer claimed that while he was not in the Mall Bar on Easter Sunday, he regularly received the wrong orders from Mr Clery and sometimes no drink at all.
In his evidence, Mr Clery vehemently denied having been drunk on duty on April 4, 2010. He had worked from 11.45am to 7.45pm that day before taking a break. He went home for dinner before resuming work at 10pm and had taken nothing to drink in the interim.
He said that Mr Cowhey had come in just before 11pm that night, that he was very angry and that he had “f**ked him out of it”.
Mr Clery contradicted evidence from his former boss that he had previously been issued warnings about his drinking.
In his evidence, Mr Cowhey had admitted that Mr Clery had never been given a contract of employment to sign. He had never had to sack anybody and there were no procedures in place for so doing.
Tribunal chairman James Lucey noted the conflict in evidence but also the fact that no contract was in place and disciplinary procedures were “non-existent”.
Mr Clery was awarded €2,200 for unfair dismissal and a further €800 under the Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Act.