As an agency worker the Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Act 2012 means that the hirer (in this case the Pharmaceutical company) is considered to be their "employer" for Unfair Dismissal purposes.
It's actually quite difficult in Ireland to dismiss for Gross Misconduct - the company needs substantial grounds to do so. Breach of privacy in a health context could easily qualify but they would have to have some very solid grounds that such a breach had actually occurred.
Of course it's not all good news - if your friend has less than 52 weeks continuous "employment" with the company then they can't got for unfair dismissal unless they have been terminated for one of the following reasons:
employees who have been dismissed for trade union membership,
exercising their right to maternity leave, ante-natal, post natal related matters,
employees dismissed for exercising rights to parental leave or carer’s leave.
They're going to need an employment solicitor to assess this for a more accurate read of course (not a randomer on the internet!)
( 7 months ago )
One of my close friends has allegedly been fired for "gross misconduct" via breach of privacy with no prior warning nor issues.
The company's (a big american pharmaceutical) HR has investigated their phone, with consent, and was unable to find anything.
They were working under an interim agency, if that might help. We are living in Ireland currently, where they got fired.
To me, that looks like unfair dismissal, although I might be wrong. Case being, is there any point in actually fighting back against the company HR? My friend is not in a financial situation to hire an attorney, sadly. Not for now at least.