INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
FOODPAK IRELAND LIMITED
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Alleged unfair dismissal.
2. The worker commenced employment with the Company on the 3rd of August, 1997, as a machine operative. He was dismissed on the 13th of February, 1998. The worker claims that he was unfairly dismissed and that correct procedures were not followed by the Company. The worker's claim is rejected by the Company. The worker sought to have the matter investigated by a Rights Commissioner but the Company declined to attend such an investigation. The worker referred his complaint to the Labour Court, on the 18th of June, 1998, in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. The Court carried out its investigation on the 29th of July, 1998.
3. 1. In the week prior to dismissal, the attitude of his manager changed dramatically towards the worker who was, subsequently, subjected to verbal harassment and abuse (details supplied to the Court).
2. Although the Company initially claimed that the worker had resigned, it admitted at a later date that a dismissal had taken place on February 13th.
3. The worker had, in mid-January, received a formal review congratulating him on his work performance. Although this review also raised the subject of timekeeping and absenteeism, there is no record of poor timekeeping on the part of the worker and the absences referred to were certified. The worker sought a meeting with management concerning these issues but his request was refused.
4. On the day of the dismissal, when the worker finished early, he had not been working at his machine, which was turned off. He was involved in the painting of the premises, at which he felt he could do no more work at the time. Other members of staff were also leaving.
4. 1. On the day of the dismissal, the worker ceased work 30 minutes early. Having been confronted by his direct manager about this, the worker left, despite having been warned that such action would result in his dismissal.
2. By stopping work, the worker was in serious breach of Company rules, custom and practice. He refused to follow instructions from his manager and he was in breach of his contract by walking off the job (details supplied to the Court).
3. Following the incident, the worker was given the right to a fair and impartial hearing. He was, in the first instance, not interested in discussing the matter at local level and he declined three invitations to discussions with the Company.
4. There is no evidence of harassment or bullying alleged to have taken place.
5. The worker had been made aware that his performance was unsatisfactory in respect of poor timekeeping, absenteeism (details supplied to the Court).
The Court considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties.
There would appear to be a conflict of evidence in relation to what happened on Friday, 13th of February, between the employee and the direct manager.
The Court is of the view that it is possible, given the heated exchanges, that both sides are correct in their interpretation of events.
Having considered the evidence presented, it is the Court's recommendation that this matter be settled by the employer increasing his offer of one week's pay in lieu of notice to two weeks' pay in full and final settlement of this case.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
25th August, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Michael Keegan, Court Secretary.