INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
MIDLAND HEALTH BOARD
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Alleged unfair dismissal.
2. The worker commenced employment in St. Fintan's Hospital, Portlaoise, in January, 2000, as a locum S.H.O. and he was appointed as Registrar in July 2000 on a one year contract. On the 5th of July, 2000, the worker was called to a meeting in regard to a number of allegations/complaints made against him. In September, 2000, the Board's Chief Executive Office (CEO) issued a notice of intention to remove the worker from his post for the following reasons:
(1) On the afternoon of 3rd of July, 2000, he failed to report for duty. When asked about his absence his response was inappropriate and insulting. When asked about his absence at a meeting the following morning his reply was again offensive.
(2) On the 28th of June, 2000, his behaviour in dealing with 2 Assistant Staff Officers (ASOs) was aggressive and intimidating. His behaviour with one of the ASOs on the 12th of July, 2000 was also unacceptable.
The worker contends that he was not given sufficient time or information to deal with accusations, some of which he denies. He believes that the Board's decision to dismiss him was flawed and that the principles of natural justice were not applied.
The worker referred his case to the Labour Court on the 17th of July, 2001, in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour court hearing took place on the 7th of May, 2002, the earliest date suitable to the parties. The worker agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation.
3. 1. On the 3rd of July, 2000, the worker had left instructions that he could be "bleeped" if he was needed in the afternoon. This did not happen until 3.10pm. It was his first day in the job and the Day Hospital where he worked had only opened on the same day. As a result, he lost his way and did not arrive until 3.35 p.m. approximately.
2. At the meeting on the 5th of July, the worker was not told who had made complaints against him. As such, he could not defend himself properly.
3. The worker was not given any verbal or written warnings before he was dismissed.
4. The worker was agreeable to meet with a new committee to discuss the situation, but the dates offered to him were not suitable.
4. 1. The worker knew on the 3rd of July that he was due to report back for work at 2.30pm. His absence without permission caused considerable difficulties.
2. The worker's response when asked about his absence was totally inappropriate and insulting.
3. The worker was given every opportunity to respond to the allegations made against him. At the meeting on the 5th of July, he was advised of his right to have representation and was supplied with details of the complaints. Further information was supplied to him on the 12th of July.
4. The Board considered the worker's behaviour as representing gross misconduct and warranting a sanction more serious than a verbal or written warning.
5. Three meetings were arranged in July and August, 2000, by the investigating team but the worker failed to attend any of them.
In dealing with the worker's complaint, the Court has considered if the procedures followed by the Board were fair and reasonable by the normal standard expected of a reasonable employer. The Court has also had regard to the requirements of the Code of Practice on disciplinary procedures.
The Court is satisfied that the complainant was made aware of the complaints against him on 5th of July, 2000. In response to his request, further particulars were made available in writing on 12th of July, including the source of the complaints.
Thereafter, the complainant was offered a number of opportunities to meet with his immediate manager to respond to the complaints but declined to avail of the opportunities offered.
In all the circumstances, the Court does not accept that there was a lack of procedural fairness in the process leading to the termination of the complainant's employment. Accordingly, the Court is satisfied that the claimant was not unfairly dismissed.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
29th May, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.