INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Alleged unfair dismissal
2. The Company is involved in planning advertising campaigns on behalf of its clients, and buying advertising space in all types of media. As such, it is responsible for managing clients' advertising budgets.
The worker joined the Company along with a number of other new employees on the 4th of January, 2000, for a 3 month probationary period. She was graded as a media assistant (MA). The worker claims that she was assigned to a media manager to work on 14 brands, 13 of which were active, although the brands would not go on-air until March. Part of her job involved looking after the budget on various options.
The worker's media manager left the Company at the end of February. She claims that she did not get much help from him regarding training, and was now left on her own. On 14th of March, she spoke to the accounts director about concerns for her work. He said that he was worried about her maths. He also said that her review, due on the 4th of April, was put back for a month because her media manager had left. The following week, a new broadcasting manager started work with the Company On the 5th of April, the worker's new media manager joined the Company. On the 12th of April, the worker asked to have her review brought forward. It was arranged for the next day but turned out to be a meeting with the accounts director and broadcasting director, rather than a review. The worker was told that she was struggling with the job, and the subject of her maths was raised again. The worker was given a letter to read but not allowed to keep. The letter was due to be sent to her home along with a new list of goals and a job description, but did not arrive. The worker was not reviewed on the 4th of May.
On the 11th of May, the worker's media manager wanted to review the campaigns. The worker noticed that there was a discrepancy of ï¿½600 in one of the March campaigns. She spoke to the broadcasting manager, who had worked on the campaign with her, but could get no satisfactory answer. The following day the worker was told that she was dismissed.
The Company's view is that it gave the worker every chance, but that in the end she was not suitable for the job.
The worker felt that she was unfairly dismissed, and referred her case to the Labour Court on the 2nd of August, 2000, in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 1st of September, 2000. The worker agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation.
3. 1. The worker was not given much training in the job, and was told that she would have to ask other people for help, which she did. The worker's first media manager left the job the day before their brands were due to go on-air. He told her that she would have to work on her own until he was replaced.
2. The worker did not have a major problem with maths/calculations. The job required the use of a calculator, due to the amount of money being spent.
3. The worker's new media manager told her that she was being used as a scapegoat for mistakes in the Company. She believes that raising the issue of the ï¿½600 helped to get her dismissed.
4. 1. The new employees were given clear instructions as to their job functions, and were made aware that they were on a 3 month probationary period. During this time, the worker experienced some difficulties with the computer system that she was required to use. She was given additional training by senior members of staff.
2. The new recruits were tested on their knowledge of the media markets and numeration. It became apparent that the worker concerned had not reached the same level of understanding as her colleagues. She also had difficulties working as part of a small team.
3. The worker's probationary period was extended by a month in the hopes that her performance would improve, but this did not happen The Company was left with no choice but to dismiss her. The issue of the ï¿½600 was not a factor in her dismissal.
The Court considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties. While there was a conflict of evidence on a number of points, it was accepted that the claimant had suffered as a result of her media manager leaving the Company after a short time.
The precise reason for her dismissal is unclear, although a range of reasons were given to the Court. While the Company stated that it was dissatisfied with her performance, no satisfactory explanation was given as to why a letter promised following the meeting of the 13th of April, was not forwarded. No satisfactory explanation was given for her sudden dismissal on the 12th of May, 2000.
The Court, having considered all the information supplied, and taking into account the background to this case, is not satisfied that the dismissal, or the manner of the dismissal, was fair and reasonable. The Court, therefore, recommends that the employers supply the claimant with an appropriate reference, based on their positive summary in the Court, and ï¿½2,500 in compensation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
19th September, 2000______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.