Ms Greer started working for Ms Coulter at Alphreso Café at Abbey Centre, Newtownabbey as a dishwasher in October 2008, working 8 hours a week.  On 5th October 2010 Ms Greer informed Ms Coulter that the next day was her 18th birthday and so she would be entitled to a wage increase for any future shifts worked. 

Ms Greer was previously earning £4 per hour and as a result of turning 18 would be entitled to receive at least the minimum wage for that age, which was £4.92 at that time.

After being away for a few days Ms Greer telephoned Ms Coulter to try and find out her shift hours for the following week.  Ms Greer was told that there were no further shifts available as she had been cheeky on 5th October. 

Following this telephone call Ms Greer wrote a letter asking if she had been dismissed.  It was ignored.  A further letter was sent to Ms Coulter on 22nd October stating that Ms Greer felt she had been dismissed because of her request to be paid the minimum wage.  She asked for a grievance to be considered and to appeal the dismissal.  Ms Greer received no response. 

Ms Greer pursued a claim in the Industrial Tribunal for unfair dismissal and age discrimination (editor's note: the Industrial Tribunal is exactly the same as the Employment Tribunal; Northern Ireland has just retained the original name for it)

Ms Coulter did not respond to any tribunal proceedings. 

The Industrial Tribunal’s decision

Ms Greer’s claims of unfair dismissal and age discrimination were upheld.

The Tribunal found that Ms Coulter did not wish to pay the increased minimum wage and so dismissed Ms Greer without any further communication.  Ms Greer was left to find out that her job had gone and as no notice was served Ms Greer received 2 weeks’ notice pay. 

The Tribunal also found that Ms Coulter had discriminated against Ms Greer on grounds of her age and an award for injury to feelings at £500 was also made. 

The judgment is available here.

Ms Greer v Ms Coulter (trading as Alphreso Café) [2011] NIIT 02750_10IT.