INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
LADBROKE (IRELAND) LTD
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Appeal of Rights Commissioner's Recommendation IR10823/02/LM.
2. The Company employs approximately 800 staff, including part-time and full-time employees, in its shops in Ireland. The worker concerned commenced employment with the Company in 1995 as a cashier on a part-time basis and progressed to Deputy Manager in 1998. She stepped down from the Deputy Manager position in April, 2002. as she was unhappy with the rates of pay as a Deputy Manager and the basic Deputy Manager rate affected her entitlement to her lone parent's allowance.
During the period week 19 to 30 in the year 2002 additional payments were made to the worker when she managed the shop in the absence of the manager. This occurred on days off, lieu days, holidays and sick days. The Company maintain that these payments were made in error by the worker's then supervisor and were not authorised by the Company.
The issue was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation and recommendation. The Rights Commissioner concluded that the worker believed the agreement entered into with her supervisor was authorised and on the basis of the new rates surrendered her lone parent's book. Her recommendation is as follows:
"The claimant to be paid her actual loss, and her rates to be restored on a red circle basis"
The Company appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 4th of November, 2003, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 6th of February, 2004.
3. 1. The worker was in receipt of a payment for managing, which was not in line with Company policy.
2. The Company can not be held liable for the actions of one supervisor who acted outside her authority.
3. The Company rejects the assertion that it entered into an agreement with the worker for the payments she received.
4. 1. The worker believed that there was an agreement by management to pay her additional rates when she managed the shop.
2. The supervisor confirmed to the worker that the payment had been authorised by the Area Manager and General Manager.
3. The worker gave up her lone parent's book on the basis of the agreement reached and has since suffered a loss of income.
It would appear that the supervisor in a particular area paid a number of employees an extra rate when doing particular work.
In the claimant's case she was given to understand that her extra payment had been cleared by the Company at the necessary management level.
However, the Company is adamant that the Supervisor exceeded her authority and when it was discovered payment was stopped.
The Court accepts that the Company is entitled, if it finds a practice that is unauthorised, to stop it. In this case it was done within a reasonable period.
However, in the claimant's case there was a financial fall-out as a result, because she had given up her Lone Parent Book. The consequence for her are far greater than any of the other 15 employees involved.
However, the Court is not satisfied that any attempt was made to mitigate any potential loss by seeking reinstatement of the Lone Parent Allowance, given that the circumstances had changed.
Taking into account all of the issues involved, the Court, recommends that the Company pay the claimant €1,000 and that the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation be amended accordingly.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
26th February, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Madelon Geoghegan, Court Secretary.