INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
SCHINDLER IRELAND LIMITED
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation No. IR455/98GF.
2. The worker was employed by the Company from the 6th of October, 1997, to the 8th of June, 1998. Her duties were those of a receptionist/bookkeeper.
The Company claims that it had financial problems in 1998. A number of steps were taken to solve these problems and one of them resulted in the worker being let go. The worker maintains that her work suffered because of intimidating behaviour by the general manager, and it was because of this that she was unfairly dismissed.
The worker referred her case to a Rights Commissioner and his recommendation is as follows:-
"I recommend that the parties accept that she be paid
the sum of £250 in full and final settlement of her claim."
The worker appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 23rd of November, 1998, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 10th of February, 1999.
3. 1. The worker became very unhappy because of the general manager's persistent intimidating manner. She lost her self-confidence and has been unwell on a number of occasions. She has had to have specialist treatment and is currently on medication.
2. The worker was overworked and under constant pressure. This contributed to her illness and also to the amount of sick leave she had to take. She had done similar work in a previous employment but did not have the same problems.
3. The worker was not "last in, first out" as the Company claims. She was given no verbal or written warning, something that the Company acknowledges.
4. 1. The main reason that the worker was let go was due to the financial troubles the Company had in 1998, including a strike which lasted 13 weeks. She was "last in, first out" in terms of longevity with the Company.
2. The Company had received a number of complaints about the worker when she was employed on the switchboard. She also had problems with the creditor's system.
3. The worker's absenteeism was high, averaging 4 days missing per month.
4. The worker did not approach anyone with the problem she claims to have had with the general manager. She would, in fact, have had very little contact with him. The worker obtained employment within a week of being let go from the Company.
The Court has considered the submissions of the parties in this appeal. The Court is satisfied that alleged poor performance of the claimant was a contributory factor leading to her dismissal. It is acknowledged by the Company that it did not issue the claimant with any formal warnings in relation to her work performance or indicate to her that her future employment was in jeopardy. It is further noted that the Company does not have any disciplinary procedure in place.
The Code of Practice on Disciplinary Procedures made under Section 42 of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990 places an obligation on employers to follow basic procedures before dismissing an employee for disciplinary purposes, including poor performance. The Court is also obliged to have regard to any failure on the part of an employer to observe these procedures in dealing to a matter in which they are relevant.
Having regard to the employer's failure to observe certain procedures in this case, the Court feels that the award made by the Rights Commissioner should be increased to £600. The amount to be in full and final settlement of all claims by the claimant.
The Court further notes that the Company has agreed to provide the claimant with a more substantial reference.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
19th February, 1999______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.