INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
(REPRESENTED BY ROONEY & FAHY SOLICITORS)
- AND -
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Alleged Unfair Dismissal
2. The worker concerned commenced employment with the company on the 5th of January, 2000. He was engaged in the installation of water treatment units and was paid a basic rate of pay plus a bonus for units fitted in excess of five. His employment was terminated on the 17th of January, 2000. He claimed that he had been unfairly dismissed and referred the matter to the Labour Court on the 13th of March, 2000 under Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place in Galway on the 1st of June, 2000. The worker had been previously employed with the company for 5 weeks in July/ August, 1999.
The Company's position is that the worker was in breach of his contract of employment and management was left with no option but to dismiss him.
The worker agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation. An invitation to attend a Rights Commissioner hearing was declined by the Company.
3. 1. Prior to his appointment in January, 2000 the worker was employed as a night porter with a hotel and resigned his position to take up his appointment with Ionics Ireland.
2. The worker received no complaints from management in relation to the quality of his work. He took good care and skill in fitting units but the conditions under which he was obliged to carry out his duties were unsatisfactory.
3. The worker was unfairly treated by the Company. He was not given sufficient time by management to enable him to settle into the job and to reach peak performance. He is disappointed and baffled by his dismissal.
4. 1. The worker refused to work more than 39 hours per week. His contract of employment specifically provided that he worked overtime when required.
Secondly, he did not contact customers to re-schedule the installation of the units he was unable to install on a particular day. This was in breach of well established and strict instructions.
2. The worker was difficult to work with and did not work well in a team situation. He attempted to impose his own terms and conditions of employment. In the circumstances management was left with no option but to dismiss him.
The Court notes that the Company was newly established and was in the process of implementing disciplinary and grievance procedures. However, this does not absolve the employer from following fair disciplinary procedures in handling any shortcomings in the performance of the worker's duties.
The worker was not given adequate advance notice or detail of the complaints against him and was not warned that his job was in jeopardy. In this regard the Court has taken account of the Code of Practice on Disciplinary Procedures made under Section 42 of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990 (S.I No 117 of 1996) which sets out the procedural stages which an employer should follow in dealing with matters of discipline, including poor performance.
In the circumstances the Court considers that the worker was treated unfairly. Having regard to the employer's failure to observe certain procedures in this case, the Court recommends that the worker should be paid a lump sum of £500 in full and final settlement of this claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
16th June, 2000______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Fran Brennan, Court Secretary.