INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Alleged unfair dismissal.
2. The Company is a British-owned tour operator which located to Dublin in August, 1999 and is involved in the retailing of holiday packages. The dispute concerns one worker who commenced employment with the Company, in August, 1999, as a Reservations Advisor.
The Union claims that she was summarily dismissed, without cause or proper explanation, on the 4th November, 1999. Having sought, unsuccessfully, to resolve the matter directly with the Company, the Union referred the matter to the Rights Commissioner Service for investigation. The Company, however, declined to attend such an investigation. The Union referred the matter to the Labour Court, on the 21st January, 2000, in accordance with Section 20 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. The Court investigated the dispute, on the 10th March, 2000. The Company declined to attend the Court hearing.
3. 1. While it is the Union's understanding that the worker was dismissed on the basis outlined in the letter of termination issued on the 5th November, 1999, at no time was she spoken to about her attitude or performance. She was, in fact, one the top sellers of holidays in the Company's Irish operation.
2. Because a Company staff "educational" trip interfered with public holiday arrangements and rest days, the worker requested payment for working the holiday and the due rest days. This request became an issue for the Company and the worker did not receive her rest day and had to invoke her leave entitlement. Other members of staff, while privately expressing reservations about this matter, did not take rest leave. The worker did not receive her payment for the public holiday until after her father intervened.
3. The Company's comments on "integration" must refer to the worker's inability to attend social functions after hours even though she lives thirty-five miles from the office and was not contractually obliged to attend functions after hours. She did, however, attend certain functions that involved meeting senior managers of the Company.
4. The Company has failed to provide the worker with a complete and proper P45 form. The P45 she received in December, 1999, was incorrect and has been acknowledged as being so by the Company.
It is a matter of concern to the Court that the Company did not attend the Labour Court hearing and did not present any written statement to the Court concerning the facts of this case. It is regrettable that the Court has to make a finding on the basis of one side only. It would appear to the Court that the Company has chosen to ignore the statutory industrial relations machinery which operates in this country.
In this case the dismissal took place within the probationary period, during which time the Company had the right to assess the worker's suitability for continued employment. However, the worker similarly had the right to know if her performance was unsatisfactory, and to be afforded the opportunity to correct it.
The Court is of the view that the procedures invoked in this cased by the Company when terminating the employment were deficient. The worker was not given a satisfactory explanation of the reasons for her dismissal. Her work was reported as excellent. Her dismissal was instantaneous and without giving her the opportunity to make any statement in her defence. The Court is dissatisfied with the lack of natural justice in this case. In this regard the Court has taken into account the Code of Practice on Disciplinary Procedures made under Section 42 of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990 (S.I. No. 117 of 1996).
In the circumstances the Court considers that the worker was treated unfairly. The difficulties with forwarding an accurate and up-to-date P45 has continued to damage her employment situation. A correct and complete P45 should be issued to the worker immediately.
The Court recommends that the Company pay the worker £750 as compensation for her unfair treatment. This payment should be paid without delay, in full and final settlement of all claims against the Company.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
29th March, 2000.______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Michael Keegan, Court Secretary.