A hotel maid gets €1,000 compensation but loses her employment over an umbrella

October 20, 2014

A hotel maid has won €1,000 in compensation after an industrial tribunal found the company had not followed proper disciplinary procedures when it sacked her over an umbrella that a guest left in a room. The maid worked for a five star hotel for 10 years before she was dismissed in November 2012, after a guest asked for an umbrella he had left in his hotel room and it was not found in the lost and found section or in the hotel’s logbook.

CCTV footage showed her colleague entering the housekeepers’ changing room with the umbrella hanging on a trolley for dirty linen. Sometime later, the maid was seen entering the same room with her colleagues and the umbrella was seen being carried out of the hotel by one of the workers. The maid, who was responsible for the room where the umbrella was found, was dismissed four days after her suspension, even though her colleague admitted to taking the umbrella and returned it.

The hotel management told the tribunal that due to the nature of the job, the hotel must trust an employee tasked with entering guest rooms. The maid had not followed the lost property procedure. The maid insisted that she had not stolen anything and the fact that she did not following the correct procedure to report an item did not merit dismissal, especially for someone who had never received any warnings.