INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
GEORGE FREDRICK HANDEL HOTEL
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Appeal against the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation No. RC260/97.
2. The worker was employed by the Hotel as a porter on the 4th of October, 1996. He was dismissed on the 7th of February, 1997.
The worker claims that he reported for work at 8.00 a.m. on the 7th of February and was told that the General Manager wished to speak to him. The General Manager met him at 9.30 a.m. She told him that his work was not up to standard, and referred to a letter of warning of the 17th of December, 1996, and a follow up letter on the 18th of December. The worker was then told to leave the premises.
The letter of the 17th of December referred to 2 incidents - one on the 5th of December involving 2 members of Bord Fáilte who were unhappy with the worker's attitude, and a second incident on the 15th of December when the worker entered a guest's bedroom without knocking and failed to identify himself. The guest was disturbed and complained to management.
The Union contacted management on the afternoon of the 7th of February and wrote to them on a number of subsequent occasions regarding the dismissal. The Union then referred the case to a Rights Commissioner, alleging unfair dismissal, and a hearing took place on the 17th of June 1997. The Rights Commissioner's Recommendation is as follows:
"I therefore recommend that the worker's claim for unfair dismissal against the George Frederick Handel Hotel fails".
(The worker was named in the Recommendation.)
The Union appealed the Recommendation to the Labour Court on the 24th of July, 1997, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 31st of October, 1997.
3. 1. The Union tried on numerous occasions to set up a meeting to discuss the warning letter of the 17th of December but to no avail. It wrote to the Hotel on the 24th of January, 1997, disputing the letter of warning. Management did not follow through on a disciplinary procedure, having issued the letter of warning. It dismissed the worker without any further warning. The worker received no counselling or verbal warnings prior to the 17th of December, despite what the Hotel claims.
2. Regarding the incident of the 15th of December, the worker had been asked to help out in the area where the incident happened. The Hotel was newly opened and people were doing various jobs. The worker did apologise to the guest. There was no need for a second apology. The worker did not stand outside the Hotel following the dismissal as management claims. He feels that his Union membership was a factor in his dismissal.
4. 1. The worker was not carrying out the duties required of his position. He was given a number of verbal warnings prior to a final verbal warning in November, 1996. Two incidents occurred, on the 5th and 15th of December, which resulted in the worker being given a written warning on the 17th of December. On the 5th of December, 2 senior members of Bord Fáilte complained about the worker's poor performance. On the 15th of December, the worker entered a guest's bedroom without knocking. He did not apologise or explain himself and later had to be asked by the General Manager to apologise.
2. The worker was asked to attend a meeting with the General Manager on the morning of the 7th of February. It was decided, because of his poor work performance and attitude, to terminate his employment. Later on the same day, the kitchen porter observed him standing outside the Hotel for a period of 3 hours.
The Court, having considered all the information before it, finds no reason to amend the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation.
The Court, therefore, rejects the appeal and upholds the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
11th November, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.