Northern Ireland

Stab victim 'unfairly dismissed' from mushroom job

A mushroom picker sacked from her job just under a month after being stabbed at work has been awarded £4,169 by an industrial tribunal.

The tribunal found Jelena Kandrotiene - who is from Lithuania - was unfairly dismissed by McArdle Mushrooms.

Ms Kandrotiene was injured during an altercation with a co-worker at the County Armagh firm on 14 November 2009.

The tribunal was told although she was badly injured, the police were not called and no assistance offered her.

As she prepared to return to work she received a letter dated 4 December saying: "Following the unacceptable events of 14 November 2009, I write to inform you that your services are no longer required."

She had called to work to submit sick-lines twice before this, but had been given no notice that an investigation or disciplinary procedures were under way.

The company's John McArdle testified that he believed Ms Kandrotiene had previously been involved in other altercations with co-workers, but the tribunal found there was no compelling evidence for this.

During the company's investigation of the incident neither Ms Kandrotiene nor the co-worker who stabbed her, named 'Reni', were interviewed, although Reni's husband and a supervisor called Laila were.

No other workers at the mushroom picking firm witnessed the incident and the tribunal found no evidence that they had been frightened by a friend of Ms Kandriotene - who she called after the stabbing.

The tribunal found that the company's investigation into the incident was inadequate and that statutory procedures had not been followed.

"Had the proper procedures been followed a true record of events would more likely than not have emerged," the tribunal said.

"According to the evidence before the tribunal it is possible that the claimant would have emerged as an innocent party and not been dismissed."