INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
KENNEDY CATERING & MARINE
(REPRESENTED BY NEIL J. BREHENY & CO.)
- AND -
TECHNICAL, ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Alleged unfair dismissal.
2. The worker was employed by the Company from the 13th of May, 1998, to the 4th of May, 1999, as a service engineer. The worker claims that he was unfairly dismissed.
The worker claims that the following occured: Approximately two weeks before his dismissal, the worker went on sick leave with a seriously cut hand, the injury having occurred while he was working for the Company. The worker was continuously pressurised by the Company manager to return to work. He was unable to do so because of the seriousness of the injury. A week after going on sick leave, the worker was served with his dismissal notice.
The worker referred his case to a Rights Commissioner but the Company refused to attend. On the 27th of May, 1999, the Union, on his behalf, referred his case to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 3rd of November, 1999, in Waterford. The Company did not attend the hearing or forward a written submission. The worker agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation.
3. 1. The worker had no problem with management prior to the accident in which he cut his hand. The cut did not heal fully for eight weeks (medical certificate supplied). The worker was just two weeks short of one year's satisfactory employment.
2. The dismissal notice was served without prior warning. The worker was given no reason as to why he was let go. He was given no contract of employment or details of disciplinary procedures.
3. During the one week that the worker was unavailable, the Company had the services of a part-time service engineer. The worker had given a commitment that he would return as soon as possible.
The employer was not present at the Court hearing. No written statement was received from the employer. The Court is concerned at the view expressed by the Company's legal representative who stated that"our client does not recognise the right of the Labour Court to interfere in what is entirely an employment matter and has nothing to which the Labour Court's function would refer."The Court is required under the Industrial Relations Acts, 1946-1990 to investigate a trade dispute as defined by Section 3 of the 1946 Act. It is clear to the Court that a trade dispute within the meaning of the 1946 Act exists in this case.
It would appear to the Court from the information before it that the Company has not complied with its statutory obligation under the following:-
- The Terms of Employment (Information) Act, 1974, by not providing a written statement of the terms and conditions of employment.
- The Unfair Dismissals Acts, 1977-1993, by not providing written details of disciplinary procedures.
Moreover, the Company has not complied with:-
- the Code of Practice on Disciplinary Procedures published by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment in accordance with Section 42 of the Industrial Relations Act which sets out the procedure an employer must adopt when dealing with disciplinary matters, and
- the principles of natural justice.
The Court is of the view that the worker's employment was unjustly terminated due to these serious breaches of procedures. The Court recommends that the employer should pay £3,000 compensation to the employee, this money to be paid by the 15th of December, 1999. The Company should also provide the worker with a suitable job reference.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
19th November, 1999______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.