An Employment Appeals tribunal has ruled that Aer Lingus was justified in its decision to sack a transatlantic steward high on marijuana.
Spanish national Miguel Seaz Sanchez was dismissed when he became delusional on a flight from San Francisco in March 2009.
The 32-year-old believed there were fleas and lice on his face and that passengers were taking photographs of him after he ate a cookie laced with marijuana.
Sanchez had also been taking pills in the run-up to the flight, a practice banned in the Aer Lingus cabin crew manual.
The County Meath resident had partied with friends during his down time in San Francisco when he unwittingly ate a cookie with cannabis in it.
When he arrived for work the day after the party, he became very emotional and thought he was being photographed by Aer Lingus ‘plants’ pretending to be pilots.
The incident led to his dismissal which, Sanchez told the tribunal, he felt was harsh.
He admitted to consuming the cookie 24 hours before the flight and said he did not feel any adverse reaction. Sanchez also confessed to taking marijuana once before, in Amsterdam when he was 19.
The Employment Appeals board told Sanchez that his failure to inform Aer Lingus management of the bouts of hallucination and paranoia before the flight didn’t help his cause.
“The fact that he reported for duty against this backdrop of events was serious,” a judgement from the tribunal said.
“The tribunal believes that by his acts and omissions, the claimant was guilty of serious misconduct.”
The Tribunal was critical of some elements of the Aer Lingus procedures used in the case but said they were not serious enough to render the final judgement unfair.
“Taken in conjunction with his previous employment record, the decision of the respondent to dismiss the claimant was justified,” the judgment said.