INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
MARIE KEATING FOUNDATION
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation IR7801/02/GF.
2. The Foundation was established as a charitable organisation in1998 to provide information and create an awareness of Breast Cancer. It has three mobile units each staffed by a nurse and a driver.
The worker concerned was employed by the Foundation as a Unit Driver from the 30th of April, 2001. She claims she was unfairly dismissed on the 18th of January, 2002.
The Employer rejects the claim stating that she was spoken to on several occasions regarding her conduct. The issue was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation. He recommended that she be compensated in the amount of €6,000 in full and final settlement of the claim. The recommendation issued on the 23rd of July, 2002.
The Union on behalf of the worker concerned appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 8th of August, 2002, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 31st of October, 2002, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The Employer did not adhere to fair procedure. The worker concerned was not made aware that her performance was not up to standard. There are no records of any complaints made against her.
2. The worker concerned was a well experienced driver and worker within the health service. She was hard working, flexible and co-operative.
3. The worker concerned was unfairly dismissed before her contract expired and should receive an additional lump sum equivalent to four months pay plus €6,000 a total amount of €10,800.
4. 1. This is the first dispute which has arisen since the establishment of the Foundation in 1998.
2. The worker concerned was spoken to on several occasions regarding her conduct and failure to carry out her duties as outlined in her job description.
3.The Employer had no option but to dismiss the worker concerned as she proved unsuitable for the post. The decision taken was in the best interest of the Foundation. The dismissal took place during the worker's probationary period.
The Court notes that this was a newly established charitable organisation which was in the process of developing its disciplinary and grievance procedures since its inception; however, this does not absolve the employer from following fair disciplinary procedures in handling shortcomings in the performance of an employee's duties.
The appellant was not given adequate notice or details of the complaints against her and was not warned that her job was in jeopardy. In this regard , the Court has taken account of the Code of Practice on Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures S.I. No. 146
of 2000, which sets out the procedural stages which an employer should follow in dealing with matters of discipline, including poor performance.
In the circumstances of this case, the Court considers that the dismissal procedures which were applied were flawed. The Court concurs with the findings of the Rights Commissioner and recommends that the employee should accept the payment of €6,000 compensation, in full and final settlement of all claims against this organisation.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
18th November, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Gerardine Buckley, Court Secretary.