25/09/2013

Former Employee Appeal Dismissal Over Sale Of Alcohol To A Minor

A former Dunnes Stores employee is appealing her dismissal after she was found to have sold alcohol to a 15-year-old girl.

It is understood that gardaí was undertaking a sting operation when the employee sold four bottles of Smirnoff Ice to the teenager, a garda test purchaser, at the Drogheda-based grocery store on December 09.

Under powers granted to gardaí to use 15, 16 and 17-year-olds as undercover agents in off-licences and pubs, the branch of Dunnes Stores was prosecuted for the sale, fined €1,500 and ordered to close for four days.

However, in an appeal of the conviction heard in July, the company won, yet still had to pay €4,000 to charity.

The former employee, Lorraine Fitzpatrick, was subsequently fired from the store over the incident, a dismissal she is now appealing.

It is understood that an Employment Appeals Tribunal heard that while there was other disciplinary options available to the manager of the store, he considered the situation "too serious" and chose to fire Ms Fitzpatrick, an employee of 12 years.

The tribunal also heard the store manager Sean Lonergan, did not consult the companies head office before taking the decision.

The tribunal was adjourned until April.

(MH/CD)

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