INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
MAPLE & HICKORY MANAGEMENT LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY O 'DWYER PROPERTY MANAGEMENT)
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Alleged unfair dismissal.
2. The worker was recruited by O'Dwyer Property Management (ODPM) to act as a janitor for the Company in Herbert Park Lane Apartments. ODPM is responsible for all management matters relating to the apartments and complex, but the worker was actually employed by the Company.
The worker was offered employment on the 14th of October, 1999. His duties included light maintenance, supervising cleaning, and general security. On the 17th of February, 2000, ODPM received a telephone call from the worker in which he referred to an incident about a chair which he had removed from the Herbert Park Hotel for his personnel use, and then returned when requested to do so by a representative of the Hotel. ODPM noted the call, but felt that there was no need for further action.
On the 22nd of February, ODPM received a letter from the General Manager of the Hotel, stating that the worker had been trespassing on Hotel property and had removed furniture from the Hotel, claiming that he had received authorisation from a Hotel employee. The worker had claimed that a person named Dinny had given him permission to remove the chair, but the Hotel stated that Dinny denied any involvement and that the worker was unable to identify the person who gave him permission.
The Hotel management called in the Gardai and the worker was questioned on the 10th of March. It emerged that the worker had a conviction registered against him from 1996. The worker was questioned further by management, at first denying that he had a conviction but then admitting it. Following a meeting of the directors of the Company, it was decided to dismiss the worker.
The worker felt that he was unfairly dismissed and referred his case to the Labour Court on 13th of June, 2000, in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 23rd of August, 2000. The worker agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation.
3. 1. The worker was very efficient at his job, and this has been acknowledged by the Company. He left a full-time job to take up the position.
2. The worker was not supplied with a chair when he started the job. He was given permission to take a chair which he thought was being thrown out. When told that it was Hotel property, he returned it and reported the incident. He believed that that was the end of the matter, until he was dismissed 2 months later. The worker was given no warning before the dismissal.
4. 1. The worker's position was one based on trust between him and his employer. Following the investigation into the removal of the chair, that trust was broken. He had failed to reveal at his interview for the job that he had had a court appearance and conviction, although he had been specifically asked about trouble with the authorities. During the investigation, he continued to deny this and the fact that he had been interviewed by the police and Hotel staff.
2. The worker was unable to identify the person who allegedly gave him permission to take the chair. Given the results of the investigation, the Company was left with no choice but to dismiss the worker.
The Court considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties.
In relation to the specific incident involving the removal of a chair, no evidence was presented to justify that the action of the claimant was based on anything other than a misunderstanding. This action was immediately corrected by him on being confronted by the Hotel owners.
However, this particular incident triggered a number of events, resulting in the Employers gaining information that made them decide they could not continue to employ the claimant, despite his good performance in the job.
Having considering all the information presented, the Court accepts the Employer's position, and does not find the dismissal to be unfair.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
31st August, 2000______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.