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Barber fined £3,000 for sacking woman for 'calling in sick on Mondays'

Barber fined £3,000 for sacking woman for 'calling in sick on Mondays'

The judge ruled that she had been genuinely ill on the day she was fired

A barber has been fined £3,000 after sacking a woman for ‘calling in sick on Mondays’, with an employment judge ruling that the employee had been genuinely ill.

Christian Donnelly, who owned Acute Barbers in the students’ union at Cardiff University, believed Celine Thorley had been feigning genuine illness after partying at the weekend, having warned her as she finished a shift one Friday: “Don't let me down on Monday."

When Monday came, Thorley texted him to say she could not get out of bed because her stomach was ‘killing’ her, but Donnelly then said he would be sacking her after ‘four years of phoning in sick on Mondays because you’d had a good weekend’.

An employment judge has now ordered Donnelly to pay Thorley a total of £3,453, having ruled she was sincerely ill with a heavy period.

Christian Donnelly.

The tribunal heard that Thorley, 25, had hosted a Halloween party on the last weekend of October 2021.

The Monday after, she texted her boss: "Hey Chris I know you're going to be mad at me but I can’t make it to work sorry I really didn’t think I was going to be this bad I’m not well at all I was a mess yesterday and I’ve woke up this morning and was sick straight away.

“I really thought I was going to be okay today... my stomach is killing me and I’m all shaky... I really can’t get out of bed Chris. I’m soo sorry!”

Donnell, 39, hit back to say he would be letting her go, as he was ‘not having this’.

“Don’t come in and you’re gone,” he told her.

When Thorley - who started working at the shop in 2018 with a salary of about £16,000 - said she would take him to a tribunal, he replied: "You’ve had all your warnings. Crack on with all that legal s***."

Judge Roseanne Russell found that Thorley had a ‘physical impairment’ from menorrhagia (heavy periods).

Thorley also claimed she was suffering from endometriosis, a condition which can cause crippling pelvic pain, although she had never received a formal diagnosis from a doctor.

She said she was on a waiting list to be seen by a gynaecologist, but the tribunal heard there was no referral letter in her medical records.

It also heard that Thorley’s mother-in-law took the day off on the day she was fired to look after her, as she was in ‘severe pain’.

Upholding a claim of unfair dismissal, Russell said Donnelly had not given his employee formal warnings.

Donnelly, who has since closed the students’ union barber shop but still cuts hair at Acute Barbers in Llandaff North, told WalesOnline that he stands by his decision to fire Thorley.

Donnelly at Acute Barbers in Llandaff North.

He claimed there was a ‘pattern’ of Thorley calling in sick Mondays, but accepted he should have gone through the correct process of dismissal, including written warnings.

Saying the amount of compensation he had to pay was a ‘farce’, he added: "I don't know how I'm going to come up with that.”

Donnelly told the outlet he felt ‘no bitterness’ towards Thorley, saying the business had been struggling so much during the pandemic that he worked as a labourer so he could keep the student union shop going.

"I kept it open so she would be in a wage," he added.

"I made so many sacrifices. Because of the rent and service charge I was having to put my wages from building work towards topping up her wages.

"I thought it would pay dividends because she's a decent barber and I'd get the money back, but I've got to take it on the chin."

He added: "I pulled her to one side so many times saying, 'You're making it blatantly obvious what's going on and you need to nip it in the bud'."

However, Donnelly believes he has learnt an important lesson, saying: “The Is need to be dotted and the Ts crossed.”

LADbible has reached out to Celine Thorley for comment.

Featured Image Credit: WalesOnline

Topics: UK News