INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
HORANS RETAIL STATOIL STATION
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Alleged unfair dismissal
2. The Company began trading in July 2002. It runs a petrol fore-court and convenience store which includes a delicatessen counter. The worker was employed on the 16th September 2002 as a general assistant and key holder in the delicatessen area.
The worker came to work as normal on the 25th July 2003. The Manager arrived on the premises in the afternoon and signalled the worker to another room. The Manager informed the worker that the health inspector had visited the premises and the result of the visit was a costly restructuring of the premises and the Manager had no option but to make the worker redundant and it was effective immediately.
The worker gave the keys of the premises to the Manager and left the premises.
On the 29th October, 2003, the worker referred the issue to the Labour Court, in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 11th December, 2003.
The worker agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation.
3. 1. The worker's employment was abruptly terminated and the manner of dismissal is not satisfactory.
2. The worker was dismissed at a time when a theft on the premises was being investigated. This was public knowledge and as the worker was the only employee to have her employment terminated at this time, she was concerned that she was under suspicion in relation to the theft.
3. The worker's good name and character has been destroyed within the community leading to loss of confidence.
4. 1. A visit by the health authorities in July 2003 resulted in costly adjustments having to be met to acquire a full food licence, this came at a time when business was on a downturn and an immediate decision on restructuring the cost basis of the operation was necessary.
2.Company difficulties were urgent and in order to safe-guard the business, redundancies were necessary. It was decided that all staff would need to be on a part-time basis only. The worker was employed on a full-time basis and was informed that the position was being made redundant.
3.The worker was never under any investigation or suspicion in connection with the theft on the premises. The worker was not on duty when the theft took place and it happened approximately two months before the workers departure.
The Court accepts that a genuine redundancy situation came about in the employment and that this was the sole reason for terminating the claimant's employment. The Court is, however, of the view that the matter could have been handled with greater sensitivity and the true position could have been more fully explained to the claimant.
In the circumstances the Court recommends that the claimant should be offered an additional ex-gratia redundancy payment of €1,000 in full and final settlement of her claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
18th December 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jo O'Connor, Court Secretary.