Friday 28 October 2016

Air steward loses case over Jedward autograph

22/10/14 Karolina Jabczuga, Dublin, leaving the Employment Appeals Tribunal, where she is taking a case against Ryanair for constructive dismissal. Picture:Arthur Carron

A Ryanair flight attendant who was accused by a superior of harassing popstars Jedward on board a flight when asking for their autograph has lost her case for constructive dismissal against the airline.

In the case before the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT), Karolina Jabczuga lost her case for constructive dismissal against Ryanair following her 2012 resignation.

The EAT heard Ms Jabczuga was on a Ryanair flight from Dublin to Manchester on Christmas Eve 2009 when she approached Jedward [John and Edward Grimes], who were on board, and asked for their autographs. Ms Jabczuga was aware that, per the company manual, cabin crew were not to talk to celebrity passengers.

A Polish national, Ms Jabczuga was subsequently told by her base supervisor that she had harassed the twins and was not to do so again.

However, records showed there was no complaint from John or Edward Grimes.

The EAT found that two years later the brothers were on board a flight and "despite Ms Jabczuga counselling against it, some members of the crew approached the passengers, both during and after the flight, and had photographs taken with them. No action was taken against any of these crew members".

Ms Jabczuga later wrote to the Ryanair European Bases Manager, Emer O'Callaghan, about the differing treatment that she and her colleagues received in relation to approaching the celebrities.

She also had a grievance in relation to a Ryanair captain making a report about her in the manner in which she opened the cockpit door to allow the captain re-entry on June 28, 2012.

Ms Jabczuga was the member of crew that went to the flight deck in the captain's absence.

She told the Tribunal the captain began shouting at her and speaking to her in an insulting fashion for not having followed the correct procedure in relation to the unlocking of the cockpit door.

Ms Jabczuga said the first officer had given her permission to do so and that she had been able to see that the person at the door was the captain.

Ms Jabczuga complained about his report and three other staff members, including the captain, were interviewed. On August 21, 2012, the bases manager informed Ms Jabczuga she had been unable to find any evidence to support her complaint.

Ms Jabczuga's main grievance was being overlooked for promotion, and promotion for cabin crew is based on average spend, attendance and general performance.

On September 29, 2012 Ms Jabczuga tendered her resignation, citing "discrimination, bullying and harassment in the workplace".

The EAT stated that on foot of evidence provided by Ryanair, the Tribunal was satisfied that Ms Jabczuga was not unfairly overlooked for promotion.

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