INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
CASTLE TRANSPORT AND MARKETING
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Alleged unfair dismissal.
2. The worker concerned commenced employment with the Fitzpatrick Group in 1986 as a member of its hotel staff. She left after four years to gain experience in the travel industry. In December, 1997, she was offered the position of senior sales representative in Castle Transport and Marketing, a subsidiary of the Fitzpatrick Group.
The worker states that she was informed on the 7th of August, 1998, that her services would no longer be required as the Company had lost a major contract and had to make cutbacks. Her last day of employment was to be the 19th of August, 1998, but she was sent home on the 18th of August, 1998. The worker submitted a claim of unfair dismissal to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969, and agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation. The Court investigated the issue on the 5th of January, 1999. The Company declined an invitation to attend the hearing or to provide a submission to the Court.
3. 1. The worker concerned was told that the reason for her dismissal was a downturn in business. She was the longest serving employee in the Company, yet was the only one to be dismissed. She trained a new employee shortly before her dismissal and believes that another new employee was recruited shortly afterwards.
2. The worker was a loyal and dedicated employee of the Fitzpatrick Group for almost five years, yet she was shabbily treated in a most humiliating manner on her second last day of employment. She was accused of shredding confidential documents and was escorted from the premises. Management later admitted that the documents were not confidential and that she was let go because of the downturn in business.
3. Between November, 1997, and August, 1998, the staff turnover was 125%. The working environment, which had previously been professional and positive, deteriorated and practices were introduced which were not in the Company's best interests. The worker concerned was the only employee who regularly worked outside of office hours, yet she was the one to be dismissed when cutbacks were deemed necessary.
4. The Chairman of the Group promised to give the worker a "first class reference" yet she has received no reference to date. The worker also believes that she should receive an apology from the member of the Board who fired her on the 18th of August, 1998, in such an unnecessary and humiliating manner.
The Company did not attend the hearing and, therefore, the Court heard only the evidence of the claimant.
It would appear that the claimant was working out her notice, given because of changes in the trading position, when the management attitude changed dramatically, resulting in her being escorted off the premises.
The reason for the change of attitude would seem to be that the claimant made direct representation to the Group Managing Director in relation to her being let go.
The Company argued that she had destroyed important company documents, but this was not substantiated and the Group Managing Director seems to have accepted that this action was not important.
The Court finds that the actions of the Company were totally unjustified, and that the manner of her dismissal was unacceptable and unfair.
The Court recommends that the Company acknowledge that she did no wrong and also supply her with a suitable reference as promised before her dismissal.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
15th February, 1999______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Dympna Greene, Court Secretary.