INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Alleged unfair dismissal.
2. The worker commenced employment with the Davenport Hotel on the 2nd April, 2002, as a security officer. He later applied for and was successful in obtaining a position as Bar Manager. The worker was dismissed from his employment on the 9th July, 2002.
The Union claims that the worker was unfairly dismissed. It states that the worker was not given the opportunity to appeal his dismissal.
Management reject the Union's claim. It states that the worker was dismissed for gross misconduct by consuming alcohol with guests in the hotel and by inviting another member of staff to join him. He was still on probation.
The Union referred the dispute to the Labour Court on the 14th January, 2003 in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969 and agreed to be bound by the Court's Recommendation. The Court investigated the dispute on the 14th March, 2003.
3. 1. The Union has tried to engage the Company in discussions at local level to bring this issue to a close. The Company would not enter into such discussions.
2. The Company has claimed that the worker was on a probationary period of six months. However, the worker claims that he was informed on the 9th July, 2002, that his probationary period was three months.
3. The worker is seeking compensation for the loss of his employment and asks the Court to reflect this in its Recommendation.
4. 1. The worker was dismissed for gross misconduct.
2. The worker was given the Company's handbook when he commenced employment with the hotel. He was in breach of the code of conduct as outlined in that handbook.
3. The worker was dismissed in accordance with the contractual process and during the currency of his probation.
4. The worker was offered one week's pay in lieu of notice.
The Court has considered carefully the written and oral submissions made by both parties. While the Court accepts that drinking on the premises and fraternising with customers is unacceptable to the Company, and is in itself a dismissal offence, it cannot accept the manner in which this dismissal took place.
The Court is reluctant to accept the claimant’s explanation that he felt because he was off duty it was acceptable for him to do what would be unacceptable during working hours.
However, the Court is satisfied that the claimant was not made aware of the seriousness of the meeting called by management to discuss his perceived breach of rules, particularly as management viewed this breach of rules as being a summary dismissal offence. The Court is equally satisfied that there was an insufficient emphasis given to investigating fully the alleged incident.
While the claimant may have contributed to his dismissal the Court finds the manner of the dismissal and particularly the absence of any facility to appeal the decision in any form to be unacceptable.
The Court is satisfied that the manner of the dismissal was unfair and recommends that the Company pay the claimant the sum of €2,500 in compensation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
27th March, 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.