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Aer Lingus employee loses unfair dismissal case after calling colleagues ‘sluts’ in workplace speech

A former Aer Lingus customer service representative has lost her appeal in an unfair dismissal case at the employment tribunal, following a workplace row in which she called her colleagues ‘tyrants’ and sluts.”

The Employment Tribunal ruled that Ms Virginia Linehan’s dismissal was not unfair and her appeal was dismissed, following an incident dating back to 2019.

Aer Lingus terminated Ms Linehan’s contract employment in May 2021 for serious misconduct, namely his verbally abusive and aggressive behavior towards his colleagues.

Ms Linehan allegedly called staff “sluts and bullies” after claiming she was called a “psychopath” by another member of staff. The incident was captured on CCTV and witnessed by several staff members.

She was also described as being “aggressive and swinging her arms.” His behavior reportedly caused some of his colleagues to worry about the health and safety of those around him.

Mrs Linehan was suspended with pay because, due to her conduct, it was deemed she could not continue working. Following this suspension, after disciplinary and appeal proceedings, his employment was terminated by Aer Lingus.

It was emphasized in Ms Linehan’s testimony that she does not admit to attacking people. Ms Linehan suggested the court take into account that she was under stress when the incident occurred.

Cathy Dolan, Aer Lingus airside boarding area manager, said that when Ms Linehan approached her, she called her a slut three times and also called her a bully . Ms Dolan said it was the worst experience she had ever had at her workplace.

Under cross-examination at the court hearing, Ms Linehan confirmed she had called two people “bullies and sluts” but said it was a stress reaction.

When asked what triggered the reaction, Ms Linehan said it was years of bullying. When asked if she agreed that her conduct was completely unacceptable, Ms Linehan replied “no”.

Ms Linehan said Aer Lingus should treat the incident as a welfare issue and not a disciplinary issue. Ms Linehan believes her dismissal was unfair and stemmed from the fact that she exercised her right to file a complaint in 2014.

The Employment Tribunal dismissed the appeal and decided “for all the reasons set out above, the dismissal decision was not unfair”.

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