In this case the respondents hired three women as nannies/domestic help while they were resident in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). When the family moved to Ireland as Ambassador to Ireland the women came with the family and worked in the Ambassador’s residence. In short the women worked extremely long hours, seven days a week, were only paid €170 per month, were not allowed to leave the residence and suffered both verbal and physical abuse. The women were rescued from the embassy by the Migrant Rights Centre in the middle of the night in January 2012 and brought claims under the Unfair Dismissals Act that they were constructively dismissed.
The respondents did not appear before the EAT although they had been correctly served with the complaint. The EAT examined the issue of sovereign diplomatic immunity and held that the ECJ has held in recent years that an embassy, like any other public entity, can acquire rights and obligations of a civil nature, in particular as a result of concluding private law contracts. (See Ahmed Mahamdia v Peoples’ Democratic Republic of Algeria Case C-154/11, (‘Mahamdia’))