A veterinary surgery receptionist who claimed she was sacked for reporting suspicions of theft by a colleague and that she was branded a “fantasist” by her employer after taking a claim over it has won €15,600 in compensation.
She told the Workplace Relations Commission that after she first reported cash missing from a till at the clinic where she worked, her colleague told her: “The main office don’t need to know about everything that’s going on.”
Later, when she said she found her colleague putting cash from the sale of animal medication in his own wallet, her employer told her there was “nothing” he could do because he could not find a replacement vet, she said.
In an anonymised decision, the tribunal awarded the compensation – a year and a half’s salary to the part-time worker – after finding it most probable, in the absence of contradictory evidence from the employer, that she had been sacked for reporting her suspicions to her employer.
It upheld her complaint under the Unfair Dismissals Act 1977, along with further breaches of employment law.
The receptionist said that shortly after she was first hired in August 2021 to work the desk at a satellite clinic to her employer’s main practice in a large town in the west of Ireland, she was told there had been “difficulties” in the past about “cash going missing”.
She discovered the till was short on a date the following month and immediately phoned her employer about it – knowing the only other person with access was the vet in the clinic and fearing she might be held responsible, she said.
The following day, she said her colleague at the satellite clinic had “completely changed in his attitude towards her” and told her: “The main office don’t need to know about everything that’s going on.”