INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
ALPHA MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY M M MULRINE & CO, SOLICITORS)
- AND -
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation IR6679/01/GF (Appealed by both parties).
2. The worker was employed as Manager of Alpha Mobile Communications Limited, Donegal Town. On the 13th of June, 2001, the worker received a phone call, which she alleges, unfairly dismissed her from this position. The Company alleges that they invited the claimant in to discuss the reasons for the dismissal but that she refused and that the dismissal was justified.
The dispute was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation and recommendation. His recommendation issued on the 25th of February, 2002, as follows:-
“The claimant is entitled to pursue her complaint under the Industrial Relations Act 1969/1990. The respondent was duty notified on 27/11/2001 and failed to object in accordance with Section 36(1).
The dismissal was totally devoid of any fair procedures and natural justice and was clearly unfair. I am recommending that the claimant be paid the sum of €5000 compensation to be paid by the respondent forthwith.”
The worker appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 26th of March, 2002, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. The Company appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on 3rd April, 2002. A Labour Court hearing took place in Donegal on the 29th of May, 2002, being the earliest date available to both parties.
3. 1. The claimant was working on her own in the shop on the 13th of June, 2001.
The shop had to be locked for security reasons while she went to buy her lunch.
2. There was no contract of employment provided.
3. The worker believes that she was not invited to discuss the reasons for her
dismissal and alleges being told not to report to the shop the following day.
4. 1. The employee was not employed for 52 weeks full-time or regular part-time as
specified by the Unfair Dismissal Act, 1977, and, therefore, does not come
under the terms of the Act.
2. The Rights Commissioner had no jurisdiction to hear the claim.
3. The employee is guilty of misconduct, namely (a) selling items for less than cost
price without authority and (b) closing the shop without authority.
4. The employee refused a meeting to discuss matters.
5. The employee collected her P45.
It was pointed out to the Company that as this claim was under the Industrial Relations Acts, it was not necessary for the claimant to have 52 weeks continuous service to pursue a claim of wrongful dismissal.
The Labour Court gave careful consideration to the written and oral submissions of the parties. Under the Terms of Employment (Information) Act, 1994, and the Unfair Dismissals Act, 1977 - 1993, the claimant was entitled to receive a contract of employment and a copy of a grievance and disciplinary procedure. None were provided.
The employee was as a minimum entitled to know the allegations being made against her and was entitled to the right to reply, before any action was taken against her.
The Court is satisfied that the Company's serious lack of procedures and adherence to the principles of natural justice resulted in her employment being unfairly terminated. In this regard, the Court has taken account of the Code of Practice on Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures made under Section 42 of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990 (S.I. No. 146 of 2000) which sets out the procedural stages, which an employer should follow in dealing with matters of discipline.
Therefore, the Court recommends that the Company should pay compensation of €7500 to the claimant, to be accepted in full and final settlement of all claims against the Company.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
10th June, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Caroline Hayes, Court Secretary.