Unanimous judgment upholds Labour Court award of €92,000 to former chef
Former chef Mohammed Younis has been vindicated in a unanimous Supreme Court judgment today (Thurs 25th June) which upheld a 2011 Rights Commissioner decision – endorsed by the Labour Court – to award him €92,634.42 in unpaid wages and compensation for 7 years’ work in a Clondalkin restaurant.
A 2012 High Court judgment overturned the award on the grounds that an undocumented worker cannot have a valid contract. The Supreme Court has reversed this decision.
Speaking after today’s judgment, Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) spokesperson Gráinne O’Toole explained, “The High Court judgment essentially gave unscrupulous employers a license to exploit undocumented workers with impunity. For Mohammed, and for all other workers, we are relieved that the Supreme Court has disagreed with that decision.”
MRCI’s Gráinne O’Toole continued “Mr Younis has spent the last six years fighting for his rights, and we are overjoyed that the Supreme Court has ruled in his favour at last. He should never have had to endure such exploitation and the theft of his earning by his employer. In the course of his fight for justice, he has changed the law and made Ireland a better place for all workers.”
Speaking outside the court today, Mr Younis said, “I am very happy and I want to thank all my supporters. After six years, I’ve finally got justice. The next step is to get the €92,634.42 that is owed to me.”
Aoife Murphy, MRCI Communications 01 524 1454
Background: Restaurant owner Amjad Hussein recruited Mr Younis in 2002, promising him a decent job, but soon confiscated his passport, limited his movements and refused to renew his work permit. For seven years Mr Younis worked 80-hour weeks in Poppadum restaurant, with only Christmas Day off. He was paid just €0.51 per hour. The Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) first made contact with Mr Younis in 2009 and supported him to leave his situation, and later to take his case to the Rights Commissioner and the Labour Court. Mr Hussein appealed the decision to award Mr Younis €92,634.42, and the High Court ruled in Hussein’s favour. The Supreme Court has now overturned the High Court decision.
The judgment is available at http://www.mrci.ie/?attachment_id=6488. A final version will be available later today.