INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
LIDL IRELAND GMBH
(REPRESENTED BY LIDL IRELAND GMBH)
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
2. The worker commenced employment with Lidl on 23rd April, 2001 as a maintenance operator for a number of stores. The worker claims that he was constructively dismissed, discriminated against and victimised.
A meeting took place in mid September, 2002 between the worker and management to discuss the situation. On 20th September, 2002, the worker having considered his position tendered his resignation, which was accepted by the Company. As a gesture of good will, the worker was paid three months notice which he was not required to work.
The worker referred his claim to the Labour Court on the 23rd July, 2003 in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969 and agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 30th October, 2003, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3.1 The worker was employed to maintain a number of supermarkets for the Company, for over 15 months without complaint from the Company.
2. Initially the worker's hours were from 8.00a.m. to 4.30p.m with a 30 minute lunch break. The worker had full use of the company van.
3. When a new Contracts Manager was employed in July, 2002 the worker's hours changed from 8.00a.m. to 5.00p.m. He had to report to the head office every morning and report back every evening. The use of the van was now restricted to working hours.
4. The worker claims that by having to report to head office each morning and evening he was unable to carry out all duties required of him.
5. There are three other maintenance men employed by the Company who are not required to report twice daily to head office. They have full use of the van exactly as the worker had up to July, 2002.
4.1 The worker was initially under the supervision of a manager. Due to reorganisation, the worker was left for a period of time without any direct supervision.
2. A new manager was appointed in July 2002 and the Company felt it necessary to impose some control over the worker. Complaints were received from various stores of maintenance work not completed. Measures were put in place i.e. report to head office twice daily on work progress for each day.
3. In July, 2002 the worker received a verbal warning based on the quality of his work and non performance of his duties. On 6th September, 2002 he was given a written warning.
4. The worker made it clear through his attitude towards management that he was not prepared to work in the best interests of the Company. He required constant management which was not required by any of his counterparts. He resented having to account for his movements and his use of company property.
5. The worker was provided with a company handbook which detailed various procedures including grievance and disciplinary procedures. At no stage did the worker avail of any of these procedures as he would have done had he a genuine grievance.
6. The Company is of the opinion that it's efforts to work with the worker in the best interests of the company were thwarted and ultimately unsuccessful.
It is clear that before the meeting held with the claimant to discuss his future with the Company, the employer had decided that the employment relationship was no longer viable and would be terminated. In these circumstances the Court is satisfied that in reality the claimant's employment was terminated by constructive dismissal. Furthermore, the employer failed to observe fair procedures in dealing with alleged shortcomings in the claimant's performance. This arose both at the point at which the decision was taken to end his employment and in the issuance of the earlier written warning. The Court is satisfied that these procedural deficiencies rendered the dismissal unfair.
In the circumstances in which the employment relationship has broken down between the parties, the Court does not consider it appropriate to recommend reinstatement, as was requested by the claimant. The Court notes that the claimant was paid three months salary on the termination of his employment. The Court recommends that he be paid additional compensation in the amount equal to a further three months salary, in full and final settlement of all claims arising from the termination of his employment.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.