INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
(REPRESENTED BY CONNELLAN, SOLICITORS)
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation IR3793/01/TB.
2. The worker was employed on the 7th of October, 2000, by Mr. Flynn who ran a veterinary clinic with a partner. The worker's job involved entering data into a hand-held computer while the vets were testing. The Company claims that he worked 20-25 hours per week whereas the worker maintains that it was a minimum of 30 hours and up to 45 hours per week. (There were a number of disagreements about facts during the hearing).
The worker went on holidays on the 15th of December, 2000. His employment was terminated on the 21st of December. The employer telephoned him on the 19th of December, telling him not to return to work as his partner was returning from his honeymoon. However, at the hearing the employer admitted that the main reason that the worker was dismissed was when the employer discovered a few days earlier that he had a conviction for a criminal offence.
The worker believed that he was unfairly dismissed and referred his case to a Rights Commissioner. His recommendation was as follows:-
"I recommend that the worker be paid £200 (253.95 Euro) compensation in full and final settlement of this matter".
(The worker was named in the above recommendation).
The worker appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 26th of May, 2001, in accordance with Section 19(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 22nd on November, 2001, in Longford.
3. 1. The worker was told that he was being dismissed because the employer's partner was returning to work and he would no longer be needed. However, with 2 vets in the practice the worker would have been busier, not the opposite. Had he been told the real reason for his dismissal, the worker would have accepted it.
2. The worker was not asked if he had any criminal convictions at the time of his interview. He did not pose a threat to anyone.
3. The employer had filled out a form stating that the worker was to be employed for an expected duration of 6 months. The worker enjoyed doing his job and had received no complaints about his performance.
4. Given the worker's expectation of 6 months' employment, he believes that he should be paid £2,240 in full and final settlement of his claim.
4. 1 The worker should have admitted that he had a criminal record when he was being interviewed for the job. The employer did not find out about it until the worker went on holidays on the 15th of December.
2. The employer had a responsibility to his employees, many of whom were female and became distressed when they became aware of the situation.
3. The employer did not tell the worker the real reason for his dismissal because of the sensitive nature of the situation. However, it is true that there was less work to do after the worker was dismissed, partly due to the foot and mouth crisis. A number of staff members were let go and not replaced until August, 2001.
The Court has considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties.
The Court, given the employer's statement that the claimant named would probably have been let go in February when the Foot and Mouth Disease became a problem, amends the Rights Commissioner's compensation payment from £200 (253.95 Euro) to £1,000 (1,269.74 Euro) in full and final settlement.
The Court, therefore, rejects the appeal but amends the amount of compensation.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
3rd December, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.