Tribunal awards maid £7,500 in 'real-life Downton Abbey' case
Thursday 25 November 2010
This autumn the nation was gripped by the Machiavellian scheming at the heart of ITV period drama Downton Abbey. We collectively railed against the duplicity of lady's maid O'Brien and her partner in crime, footman Thomas, breathing a sigh of relief when their employer the Earl of Grantham closed his ears to their malicious rumour-mongering.
A modern day Downton-esque tale of conniving colleagues came to a head yesterday, when a princess was ordered by an industrial tribunal to pay £7,500 compensation to a former maid who fell victim to a "below stairs" plot by jealous colleagues.
Until she was let go in April, Susana Danio, 34, was a domestic help at the Chelsea home of Princess Marie-Chantal for two years, acting as occasional nanny for her five children. In a statement to the tribunal, Ms Danio claimed: "Senior staff were jealous of me. After three months my salary was increased. The princess knew I did my job well. It was all about envy and jealousy from senior staff. They made up stories, gossip and lies to brainwash the princess."
London born Marie-Chantal, 42, the heiress daughter of US duty-free billionaire Robert Miller, is related to the British royal family through her marriage to the city financier Prince Pavlos of Greece, the son of exiled King Constantine. A socialite and businesswoman, the princess owns an eponymous chain of children's fashion boutiques with outlets in London, Paris and New York and is the author of a children's book The Frog Prince.
Ms Danio sought £10,000 in damages from her former employer, claiming it took six months to find a new role after she was fired for alleged dishonesty. The princess did not appear at the tribunal, choosing to admit unfair dismissal through her lawyers instead. After the hearing, Ms Danio, who has lived in the UK since 2004 and has held numerous posts, said: "I was accused of stealing clothes, sleeping in guest bedrooms, not listening and being rude."
Acting for the princess, Andrew Sugarman claimed that Ms Danio should only receive the equivalent of six weeks' pay, arguing that she should have found employment sooner.
Judge Angela Stewart at the central London tribunal awarded the claimant £7,442, saying: "We order the respondent to pay the claimant for being unfairly dismissed. The circumstances were that the claimant was dismissed and had serious and grave allegations of misconduct brought against her, including dishonesty. The tribunal concluded that even though the claimant got a written reference she would still have had to explain about her dismissal and what had happened about her position in the previous household."
- 1 The political parties aren't all the same – which means 2015 will be a 'big-choice' election
- 2 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 3 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
UK weather: Warning for more snow and ice as freezing temperatures and gales hit Britain
New York police shooting: thousands turn out for the funeral of Rafael Ramos
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...