By Rebecca Black (PA)
A man who streamed a video of an offensive song about murdered Co Tyrone woman Michaela McAreavey has lost his case at an employment tribunal that he had been unfairly dismissed from his job.
Andrew McDade, from Portadown, Co Armagh, lost his job as a lorry driver for the Norman Emerson Group after a clip from the video sparked outrage last May.
He had been attending an event at Dundonald Orange Hall when he livestreamed footage, including the singing of a song which appears to mock the daughter of former Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte, who was murdered while on honeymoon in Mauritius in 2011.
Mr McDade said he had not been aware of the song.
He streamed the video live to his Facebook page.
A clip of the video went on to go viral on social media and the song was condemned.
Mr McDade’s employer became linked to the video because it was listed as his employer on his Facebook page.
He was dismissed following a disciplinary process.
While he did not appeal against the dismissal at the time, Mr McDade went on to take an unfair dismissal case against his former employer.
However his claim has been dismissed by a panel of judges led by tribunal president Noel Kelly, who heard arguments in the case last month.
In a written ruling, the panel described a claim which was “always misconceived and without merit”.
They described the singing of the song by a large group of people and applause as a “truly disgraceful event and reminiscent of a Munich Bierkeller in the 1930s”.
“Persons not singing had laughed at the lyrics and had clapped. Others gave stiff arm salutes,” they said, but added the decision had been based on the correct legal tests.
They said they were satisfied the respondent had adopted a fair procedure in both investigating and in determining this matter, and that the decision to summarily dismiss the claimant was a “decision which had been well within the range of reasonable responses open to the respondent in all the circumstances of this case”.
“Any reasonable employer, given the conduct of the claimant and given the clear and undisputed damage to both customer relationships and workforce relationships could, and in fact would, have summarily dismissed the claimant in all the circumstances of this case,” they concluded.
“This is a claim which was always misconceived and without merit. Therefore the claim of unfair dismissal is dismissed.”
Andrew McDade (Photo by Liam McBurney/PA)