INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
(REPRESENTED BY GILL TRAYNOR SOLICITORS)
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Alleged unfair dismissal.
2. The Company runs a number of small restaurants. The worker concerned commenced employment with the Company as a supervisor in the Finglas Branch of Abrakebabra on the 3rd of September, 1997. She had been previously employed by the Company from March, 1996 to September, 1996.
On the 1st of January, 1998 the worker was dismissed following a disagreement with another member of staff while on duty on the evening shift of the 31st of December, 1997.
The Company's position is that on the night in question the worker was abusive to another member of staff and management had no alternative but to terminate her employment.
The worker claimed that she had been unfairly dismissed and referred the matter to the Labour Court on the 14th of May, 1998 under Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. She agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 21st of August, 1998.
3. 1. On the night in question the worker concerned had occasion to speak to another member of staff concerning the amount of time she was spending on the telephone.
The restaurant was busy and the worker in question spent little time attending the counter. When she was requested to stay away from the telephone and to get some work done, she started screaming and left the premises shortly afterwards. Five minutes later a member of management instructed the worker concerned to go home.
2. No investigation into the matter was carried out by management. Another member of staff who was present on the night in question and who supports the account put forward by the worker concerned was not interviewed about the incident.
3. The worker had not received any complaints from management or from any members of staff concerning her work. On the evening in question she did not do anything to warrant dismissal. The worker believes that she was dismissed because the other worker involved in the incident is the girlfriend of a member of management.
4. 1. There were serious difficulties with the worker on her first night of service and there were numerous instances when the worker was abusive towards her fellow staff members.
2. The worker's general demeanour was bullying. Management received a number of complaints from other members of staff about her behaviour.
3. On the night she was dismissed, the worker was abusive to a trusted member of staff who has been employed by the Company for a number of years. The worker was verbally threatened in an unacceptable manner and she felt she was unable to remain in the restaurant with the worker concerned. Management had no option but to terminate the worker's employment.
4. The business depends heavily upon the honesty, goodwill and good humour of its employees both vis-�-vis the patrons of its restaurants and their inter staff relations. The worker, despite being given an opportunity to redeem herself, in circumstances where she might well have been dismissed on her first day, proved unable to achieve an acceptable level of performance and was let go.
The Court considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties.
The Company acknowledge that the employee had no contract of employment and that no Grievance Procedure was in place in the Company.
While it is clear that major problems existed due to the bad relationship between the employees involved, the Court having considered all the information supplied finds that the manner of dismissal of the claimant was unfair.
The Court, therefore, recommends that the Company pay the claimant £500 in compensation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
2nd September, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Fran Brennan, Court Secretary.