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Chef at Co Down restaurant sacked after f-word spat wins unfair dismissal case

Mark Lynott was awarded nearly £7,000 by an industrial tribunal.

Aldos restaurant in Ardglass, Co Down. Pic: Google Maps.
Aldos restaurant in Ardglass, Co Down. Pic: Google Maps.

By Christopher Woodhouse

A chef at a Co Down restaurant who was allegedly told by his boss to “suck my d***” when he asked for wages and to “get the f*** out” has won a claim for unfair dismissal.

Mark Lynott was awarded nearly £7,000 by an industrial tribunal following a disputed incident at Aldo’s restaurant in Ardglass last April.

In the published judgment, Mr Lynott recounted how a disagreement when the eatery in the seaside village was busy lead to a fall-out between him and his manager, Niall Vinaccia.

On Easter Tuesday, the restaurant was “very busy” and Mr Lynott had asked a waitress to check if a table was ready for the main course.

When she did not respond he asked Mr Vinaccia, who he claimed replied: “We are all f***ing busy, just use your head.”

Mr Lynott told the tribunal panel he told him: “We need to know if the table has had its starters cleared before I can send the main course.”

According to his account, Mr Vinaccia shouted back “just send the f***ing main course” to which he said “don’t start and don’t curse at me”.

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Mr Lynott, who had worked at Aldo’s for just over a year, claimed Mr Vinaccia told him to “get the f*** out of the restaurant” and pointed to the door.

He said he then moved up the kitchen and requested his wages but was told he wasn’t getting them by Mr Vinaccia, who added “suck my d***”.

Mr Lynott admitted that at this point he did step towards his boss, causing two other chefs to step in between them, but that he “really did not threaten or hit him”. He further claimed Mr Vinaccia shouted “adios” to him as he left the chippy.

In his evidence, Mr Vinaccia denied swearing at him but rather said: “Everyone is very busy, let’s just get this meal served.”

He accepted he argued and swore at Mr Lynott but denied telling him to “get the f*** out of the restaurant”.

Another witness, whose evidence was not challenged by either side, said she heard Mr Lynott say: “Get my f***ing wages, I am leaving.”

She said Mr Vinaccia responded: “I am not going to drop everything to get you your money. You will get them when they are done.” This was backed up by another witness.

Mr Vinaccia said it was as Mr Lynott gathered his personal belongings and utensils and made his way towards the door that he resigned.

Another chef said there was “tensions in the air” as “both of them were very angry”.

His wages were delivered later that evening by a chef and he had no further contact with Aldo’s management.

Both parties considered his employment to be over but the tribunal said a “reasonable employer” would not have sacked Mr Lynott for his behaviour.

But the tribunal did find his shouting and swearing did amount to misconduct which reduced his award by 20 per cent.

Mr Lynott was awarded £6,655 for unfair dismissal.

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