INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
CONTRACT PERSONNEL LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE DAS GROUP)
- AND -
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Alleged unfair dismissal.
2. The dispute concerns a worker who commenced employment with the Company on the 16th February, 2004 as a Residential Sales Representative on the Eircom winback campaign. He was based at the Company's Limerick office. On the 5th October 2004 the worker was suspended for alleged breaches of the Company's procedures in relation to dealing with its customers. A disciplinary hearing was held on the 18th October, 2004. It was adjourned following which the Company conducted an independent investigation, carried out by its quality control team, into the alleged breaches of procedure by the claimant. A further disciplinary meeting was held on the 1st November, 2004 following which the worker was dismissed from the employment. His dismissal took effect from 1st November, 2004. The worker's dismissal was upheld upon a subsequent appeal to the Company's Managing Director. The worker claimed that he was unfairly dismissed and referred a complaint to the Labour Court under Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. The worker agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation. A Court hearing was held on the 28th September, 2005.
3. 1. The claimant was notified of his suspension by way of a phone call on the 5th October, 2004. At the disciplinary meetings the claimant indicated to Management that the offer of a colleague to accompany him at these meetings was not possible for fear of retaliation.
2. The claimant does not accept that he acted in any way contrary to the terms of his contract of employment in his dealings with customers and disputes the contents of the quality control report on his actions, which was undertaken by Management. He produced a number of signed letters from customers in support of his position, which contradicted the report of the quality control team.
3. The claimant was dismissed in an arbitrary and unfair manner by the Company. The procedures used by the Company were contrary to the provisions of SI. 146 of 2000.
4. 1. The claimant was dismissed fairly for numerous and blatant breaches of the Company's Code of Conduct, in particular his obligations in relation to the Telecommunications Regulatory requirements. Such breaches took place despite the claimant's signed agreement and undertaking to adhere to such provisions of the Regulatory Handbook.
2. The Company's investigation was at all times conducted having regard to fair procedures and natural justice. The claimant was afforded an opportunity to have a witness present at the disciplinary meetings that subsequently took place but declined same.
3. The worker concerned is not entitled to any relief claimed.
The issue before the Court is a claim by a worker that he was unfairly dismissed from his employment in December, 2004. The Company's position is that he was dismissed due to a serious breach of procedures, which constituted "gross misconduct" within the terms of the Company's Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures.
Having examined all the evidence presented by both sides, the Court is of the view that the decision to dismiss the worker was too severe a sanction in the circumstances of this case. While both parties accepted that a breach of client instructions or regulations was a very serious matter, the contract of employment failed to mention this fact in its Disciplinary Procedures. The Court notes that there had been no previous breaches of regulations, no previous warnings and he was not given an opportunity to rectify any difficulties which the Company may have had.
The Court recommends that the worker should be compensated for this unfair treatment by the payment of a sum of €6,000 to be accepted in full and final settlement of all claims against the Company. The Court also recommends that the Company's Contract of Employment should be amended to clearly state the consequences of serious breaches of regulations.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
18th October, 2005______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.