Compensation for charity employee fired by voicemail

Two former employees of Victim Support Northern Ireland have won almost £33,000 compensation after they were unfairly dismissed by the charity - one of them in an answer phone message.

Marilyn Giboney found out she had lost her job as manager of the charity’s Omagh branch when she checked her phone messages after a visit to the doctor. She received £16,726 compensation from an employment tribunal.

The second claimant, Brenda Faulkner, received £16,103 for unfair dismissal. Both women had been dismissed for allegedly missing appointments with a charity boss.

Victim Support Northern Ireland was found not to have followed statutory procedures during the dismissals. A spokeswoman for the charity said she was “disappointed with the outcome”.

Giboney told the Belfast Telegraph newspaper: “I spent five years servicing the needs of victims of crime, and then I got a message on my voicemail to say that I was sacked – for attending an appointment with the doctor.”

Giboney, from Beragh in County Tyrone, said she had informed her boss that she would be unable to attend the meeting before it took place in May 2006. She said that she had received an answerphone message, a letter delivered by hand by a temporary member of staff and a letter sent by recorded delivery all informing her that she had been dismissed.

Faulkner was a manager at the Lisburn branch in County Antrim. “I didn't go to the meeting and I was accused of illegal strike action,” she said. “A letter dismissing me was sent by courier to my place of work. I was absolutely devastated.”

A spokeswoman for Victim Support said: “It is always unfortunate when these situations arise. Our focus remains upon continuing to improve the services we provide for victims of crime and witnesses.”

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