An operating theatre worker at one of the country’s largest private hospitals was sacked after calling a nurse “a cow” and for an alleged verbal attack on her manager.

In the case, Dolores Malone sued for unfair dismissal against the Galway Clinic and the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) has now awarded Ms Malone €12,000.

The EAT made the award after finding the matter in which Ms Malone’s dismissal was unfair. However, the EAT found that Ms Malone contributed to her own dismissal.

At a hearing in Galway, Ms Malone claimed the sanction of dismissal was disproportionate.

A colleague of Ms Malone’s, referred to as A.N., made a formal complaint against her in October 2013 alleging aggressive behaviour by Ms Malone on at least three occasions and accusations of bullying.

When confronted by the director of nursing, Ms Malone admitted calling her colleague ‘a cow’ and ‘dishonest’ but felt she was being singled out.

After an investigation, Ms Malone was given a written warning and told a further breach would result in more action, up to and including dismissal.

In the second incident in December 2013, Ms Malone approached her manager, M.F and requested copies of all theatre rosters from 2010.

M.F told her she would have to put the request in writing and in response, Ms Malone became loud, and aggressive.

MF lodged a formal complaint and the hospital launched an investigation. Ms Malone was dismissed in May 2014.

The EAT found the grievance procedure adopted by the Galway Clinic “was flawed in its failure to live up to the rules of natural justice”.

The EAT stated that prior to the disciplinary hearing in 2014, leading to Ms Malone’s dismissal, Ms Malone was not provided with copies of witness statements in relation to the incident dated October 1, 2013.