The United Arab Emirates ambassador has been ordered to pay three former employees almost a quarter of a million euro for breaches of work rights.

The Employment Appeals Tribunal  accepted evidence that the women from the Philippines were forced to work 15 hours a day, seven days a week for €170 per month.

The tribunal described these conditions as horrific and awarded each claimant €80,000.

The ambassador did not attend the hearing but an embassy spokesperson said he would be pleading diplomatic immunity.

Myra Calderon, Laylanie Lapanga and Jennifer Vilaranda took their claim Ambassador Khalid Nasser Rashed Lootah and his wife Mehra Metad Alghubaisi.

The women originally began working for the family in the UAE but moved to Ireland with them in April 2011.

Ms Calderon told the tribunal they shared a room with two beds and their employers retained their passports. 

There was no paperwork to show charges like USC were being paid. They eventually left in 2012 with the help of the Migrant Rights Centre of Ireland.

Tribunal chairperson Niamh O'Carroll Kelly noted that the evidence was uncontested as the ambassador and his wife had not attended the hearing, but held they had been properly notified of the case.

However, an embassy spokesperson said the ambassador would be invoking diplomatic immunity so it’s unclear when - if ever - the women will receive their €240,000 award.

At a previous Rights Commissioners hearing, the ambassador and his wife invoked diplomatic immunity and the three women lost the case.

Today, the claimants appealed that finding to the EAT.

The women’s solicitor Claire McQuillan told the tribunal that they were hired through an agency, which has since closed.

Ms Calderon gave evidence that they worked 15 hours a day, seven days a week, commencing at 6.30am, doing housework and childminding duties.

They shared a bedroom in the ambassador's home, which is a separate building from the embassy.

As the room only had two beds, two of the three had to share a bed.

The tribunal was told that between April and June 2011, the three women were paid a total of $500 or around €290 in cash.

From June 2011 to December 2011, they were each paid €170 per month.

It heard that there was no evidence of payslips or other paperwork to show statutory charges such as USC were being paid. 

Awarding each of the women €80,000, EAT chairperson Ms O’Carroll Kelly said their statutory rights had been breached.

Ms O'Carroll Kelly said that if they had been on the national minimum wage working those hours, they would have earned approximately €47,000 each.

On that basis, she was awarding each claimant €80,000.

She said cases such as this were deeply disturbing and for anyone to treat the women that way was simply not acceptable.

The chairperson also noted that their documentation had been taken, leaving them trapped in a horrendous situation.

Ms O'Carroll Kelly said that as an Irish citizen she apologised to the women.