INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation IR4535//01/GF.
2. The Union claims that its member was unfairly dismissed. The worker held a position of supervisor in the boning hall and packing area which commenced in May, 1992, with Irish Country Meats. It was subsequently bought over by Dawn Country Meats Limited, in July, 1999, and traded as Dawn Ballyhaunis.
The Union states that in December, 1998, the worker slipped and injured his back while at work. He was unable to resume his normal duties and was subsequently dismissed by the Company.
Management rejects the Union's claim that the worker was unfairly dismissed.
The dispute was the subject of a Rights Commissioner's hearing which took place on the 4th of November, 2001. The following is the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation:-
"I have considered this case carefully and I must come to the conclusion that the Company acted reasonably in the circumstances, given the medical evidence the Company were not presented with any real choice. The claimant and his trade union representative were in no way disadvantaged in the manner in which the meeting was arranged and took place.
I note the Company have offered the claimant re-employment if he receives the appropriate medical clearance, and hopefully this may occur in the future.
I recommend in the Company's favour."
The worker appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 20th of December, 2001, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. The Court investigated the dispute on the 11th of July, 2002 (earliest date suitable to the parties).
3. 1. The Union contends that the worker was unfairly dismissed in that the worker did not have access to representation during a number of meetings with the Company.
2. The Company's handling of the case was flawed in that the worker did not receive a letter stating the reasons for his dismissal.
3. The worker received a letter from the Company five months after the claimant was dismissed stating that his employment had been terminated on medical grounds.
4. 1. The Company made every effort to facilitate the worker's return to work. However, medical experts advised that he was unfit for the work available.
2. The Company acted in the best interest of the claimant in relation to health and safety.
3. Management is prepared to consider the worker for re-employment if he receives the appropriate medical clearance from his doctor.
The Court has given careful consideration to the submissions of both parties to this appeal.
The Court regards the conclusions and recommendation of the Rights Commissioner as reasonable, having regard to all the circumstances of the case. Accordingly, the recommendation is affirmed and the appeal is disallowed.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
19th July, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.