INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
MICHAEL H LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY CARVILL & COMPANY SOLICITORS)
- AND -
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation 139/99CW.
2. The worker was employed by the Company as a production co-ordinator from the 4th of August, 1998, to the 29th of January, 1999, when she claims she was unfairly dismissed. The Company is involved in the fashion industry.
The worker claims that at the interview for the job, she stated that she could not accept the position if it meant working with the factory manager in the Company's Ballyfermot site, as the factory manager had a reputation for dismissing people who disagreed with him. The worker was assured that she would be located in Dominic Street and would have very little contact with the factory manager.
The worker's duties involved taking over the purchasing/production of two of the Company's fashion labels. All styles/garments were to be manufactured in Latvia, and this would involve the worker contacting Latvia by telephone and visiting the country
The worker claims that after a few weeks it became apparent that she would be in regular contact with the factory manager, as he also had dealings in Latvia. She was also having difficulty getting information from the designers of the 2 fashion labels, and her work load increased.
The worker made her first trip to Latvia on the 2nd of November, and was accompanied by the factory manager. She made a second trip alone in the middle of December. When she returned after the Christmas break on the 6th of January, the worker spoke with the factory manager. She stated that he said that while initially he thought she was "the tops" he had now changed his mind. The worker was surprised and had no idea what caused the change of mind. On the 29th of January, she stated that the factory manager entered her office and handed her a cheque and her P45. He told her that things had not worked out and that she had to leave the premises.
The Company's view is that there were personality clashes between the worker and other employees which affected the work. It does not believe that the worker was unfairly treated.
The worker referred her case to a Rights Commissioner, and his recommendation is as follows:
"I recommend that the Company offers an acceptable reference and £1,500 and that the worker accepts in settlement of this dispute."
(The worker was named in the above recommendation.)
The worker is seeking an original reference. To date, she claims, the Company has only offered her a copy of the reference. The Company sought that the worker sign a form accepting the £1,500 in full and final settlement of any dispute she had with the Company. She refused to do so, as she would only sign a form in relation to to this dispute. She wrote to the Labour Court on the 22nd of June, 1999, in an appeal to have the Rights Commissioner's recommendation implemented, in accordance with Section 13 (9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 9th of August, 1999.
3. 1. The worker left another job to take up employment with the Company. One of the reasons she took the job is that she was assured that she would have very little contact with the factory manager but this proved to be untrue.
2. The job proved to be very difficult, as information was either incomplete or being altered without the worker being notified. Her work load increased on a regular basis.
3. The worker was not aware of any problems with the factory manager on her trip to Latvia. She has no idea why he changed his mind about her work, and she was shocked by the manner of her dismissal. She had never been reprimanded at any time.
4. Because of the delay in getting the original reference, the worker cannot restart her career.
4. 1. The worker was on 6 months probation. During the period, there were personality clashes between herself and other employees. Because of this, the team she worked with was ineffective. This was brought to the worker's attention on 2 occasions. When there was no improvement, it was decided to let the worker go at the end of the probationary period.
2. The Company feels that it treated the worker fairly. She did not appear to be happy with the work on offer. She was not unfairly dismissed.
Having considered the written and oral submissions of the parties, the Court decides to uphold the Rights Commissioner's recommendation. Therefore, a lump sum of £1,500 should be paid in full and final settlement of this claim (a form to this effect should be signed by the appellant on receipt of the lump sum). The Company must furnish the original job reference to the appellant without delay.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
20th August, 1999______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.