INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation IR552/99GF.
2. Research Resources Ltd operates a computer aided telephone interviewing centre based at Jervis Street. The company collects data on behalf of two market research companies, namely, Lansdowne Market Research and Irish Marketing Surveys (IMS) where the worker was employed. For this data collection, the company employ a pool of interviewers who are trained in-house in the techniques of market research interviewing and in the operation of the appropriate computer systems.
Interviewers work in blocks of 3 hour shifts on an "as needed" basis. The Company operates a 3-tier pay scale - new entrants on a basic rate, a standard rate after 4-6 weeks' satisfactory progress, and a small number of people on the premium rate.
The worker commenced employment with the Company on the 4th of March, 1998. Her job involved her telephoning respondents regarding a survey and asking them a specific list of detailed questions. A number of routine quality control checks were conducted to monitor all employees' performance, including the worker concerned.
The worker had gone on to the standard rate of pay after 6 weeks' employment and had requested a number of reviews as she was anxious to be placed on the premium rate. On the 17th of December, 1998, a meeting took place between the worker and a manager of the company. During the meeting, the worker made a comment - "that the supervisors were not management, they were supervisors" - and claims that as a result of this, she was dismissed. Management's view is that, given the worker's attitude, it was not appropriate for her to continue working, and she was given verbal notice to cease employment.
The worker believed that she was unfairly dismissed and referred her case to a Rights Commissioner. The Rights Commissioner found that the dismissal was unfair and recommended as follows:
"I recommend that the claimant be paid £800 in full and final settlement of her claim for unfair dismissal.
I am also satisfied she is entitled to 1 week's notice and I award her a further sum of £200 compensation."
The worker appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 25th of November, 1999, in accordance with Section 13 (9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 11th of January, 2000.
3. 1. The reference made by the worker regarding supervisors and management was not serious, and did not warrant dismissal.
2. The Company did not follow proper procedures i.e. 2 verbal warnings and a written warning, in the dismissal and has admitted this. Minimum notice of 1 week was not given.
3. The worker did not receive a reference until 3 months after she requested it. This made it very difficult for her to find other work.
4. Quality control reports were not sent to the worker for 3 months, and were incorrect when she did receive them. Her P45 was sent to the wrong address.
5. The worker did not deviate from the script when conducting a survey, as the Company claims, except on very minor variations.
4. 1. Between March and December, 1998, eight quality control checks were conducted on the worker. On each occasion, difficulties with her technique and/or productivity were noted and she was informed of same. Problems included deviating from the script, and taking approximately 25/30 minutes between calls, instead of an average 10 minutes.
2. The worker remained on the standard rate of pay because her performance did not improve.
3. On the 17th of December, the worker expressed criticism of the management team and questioned their competence and management skills. The manager felt insulted on behalf of her team, and felt it was inappropriate for the worker to continue in her job.
4. The Company does not believe that the dismissal was unfair. It does admit that fair procedures were not always adhered to following the decision to dismiss, and was willing to accept the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation.
It is noted that the employer fully accepted the Recommendation of the Rights Commissioner and has asked the Court to determine that it be implemented. The conclusion that the claimant was unfairly dismissed is, therefore, not at issue.
Having considered the submissions of the parties, and having regard to all the circumstances of the case, the Court is satisfied that the compensation recommended by the Rights Commissioner is adequate
The Court notes that in her appeal, the claimant raised a number of issues, which were not before the Rights Commissioner, and which come within the scope of other legislation. This Decision is without prejudice to the claimant's right to pursue these matters in the appropriate manner.
The appeal is disallowed, and the Recommendation of the Rights Commissioner is affirmed.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
21st January, 2000.______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.