Labour Court Database
File Number: CD90166
Case Number: AD9023
Section / Act: S13(9)
Parties: ORWELL LODGE HOTEL - and - A WORKER
Appeal by the Hotel against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation No. BC 38/90 concerning the alleged unfair dismissal of a worker.
6. Having considered the submissions made by the parties the
Court is of the opinion that taking all the circumstances into
account the Rights Commissioners Recommendation should stand.
The Court so decides.
Division: Mr O'Connell Mr Keogh Mr O'Murchu
Text of Document__________________________________________________________________
CD90166 APPEAL DECISION NO. AD2390
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1976
PARTIES: ORWELL LODGE HOTEL
1. Appeal by the Hotel against Rights Commissioner's
Recommendation No. BC 38/90 concerning the alleged unfair
dismissal of a worker.
2. The worker concerned commenced employment as a receptionist in
the Hotel on 3rd October, 1989. On Friday 9th February, 1990 when
the worker was on duty, a number of phone calls for the Hotel rang
in the kitchen rather than at reception as the switch had not been
reverted back to reception after a call had been made in the
kitchen. The chef who is also the co-owner of the Hotel
confronted the worker with this and told her to disconnect the
line to the kitchen. The worker subsequently left the premises.
That weekend was the worker's week-end off and when she returned
to work on the Tuesday (13th February, 1990) she was dismissed.
The Hotel's position is that she was dismissed because she had
walked out of the Hotel on the Friday without informing anyone and
leaving the reception unattended and because she was considered to
be unreliable and inefficient in her duties generally. The worker
contends that her dismissal was unfair and that on the Friday
morning she was doing up a lodgement in the office, and became
very upset after the incident with the chef and therefore had to
go home sick. The matter was subsequently referred to the Rights
Commissioners' Service for investigation and recommendation. A
Rights Commissioner investigated the dispute on 28th February,
1990 and issued the following recommendation-
"In light of the above I believe that the Hotel
Management acted unfairly in dismissing the worker on
the day in question in the manner disclosed.
I recommend that Orwell Lodge Hotel pay to the worker
the sum of #125 and that this be accepted by the worker
in full and final settlement of all claims on the hotel
in relation to the termination of her employment.
I would urge on the Hotel Management that in responding
to any enquiries from prospective employers concerning
the worker that it releases the reference given to the
worker given by the Hotel Manager."
(the worker and hotel manager were referred to by name in the
3. On 27th April, 1990 the Hotel appealed the recommendation of
the Rights Commissioner to the Labour Court under Section 13(9) of
the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. The Court heard the appeal on
3rd May, 1990.
4. 1. This Hotel is small and family run. It is very important
for a receptionist to be neat, friendly and efficient as she
is the first person the guests meet and first impressions mean
a lot. A six months probationary period applies in the Hotel
and this worker was given four months in which to carry out
work that is repetitive. The worker was very inefficient, the
other receptionists found it very frustrating to have to
correct her book work and the senior receptionist spoke to the
worker about the difficulties she was experiencing with
reception work. In addition, there were times when the worker
found it difficult to find a number in the telephone
directory, her manner on the phone was not good and she had
been warned about making and receiving personal calls.
2. On Friday, 9th February, 1990, the phone rang in the
kitchen at least three times and the chef/co-owner went to
reception to ask her to disconnect the line to the kitchen and
asked her if she wanted him to do reception work as well as
his own. Subsequently it was discovered that the worker had
left the premises. The Hotel was left quite short staffed and
the reception area remained unattended until the other
receptionist came on duty at 4.00 p.m. When the worker
returned to work on the Tuesday she made no reference to her
unreliability nor did she offer an apology.
3. The worker's unreliability and inefficiency meant that she
was not suitable as a receptionist. The Hotel needs
receptionists who can work without supervision. As four of
the six months probationary period had passed there was ample
time for the worker to prove her proficiency. While the
worker had not been given a written warning she had been given
a verbal one as until now the Hotel has found that only verbal
instructions, corrections or warnings are necessary. The
worker was given a reference by the Manager, and the dismissal
5. 1. On Friday 9th February, 1990 the worker was doing up a
lodgement in the back office. After the chef/co-owner came
out to reception because of phone calls coming through to the
kitchen the worker became very upset and told another worker
to say that she was sick and had to go home. The worker's
brother subsequently rang the Hotel and arranged to collect
her wages as she was upset. The worker enjoyed her job and is
of the opinion that her work was good and that she got on well
with the other workers. The Hotel should comply with the
Rights Commissioner's recommendation.