INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
CRS MOBILE COLD STORAGE
(REPRESENTED BY CRS MOBILE COLD STORAGE)
- AND -
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Alleged unfair dismissal.
2. The Claimant commenced employment as a Company Accountant with CRS Mobile Storage on 4th April, 2006, a newly created post within the Company. The Claimant states that a formal job description was not provided, however, the main duties and responsibilities were outlined to him through the employment recruitment agency. After 5 months employment the Claimant was dismissed with one months notice. He claims that he was dismissed without verbal or written warning, no reasons were given nor was a written termination notice given. He claims that he experienced bullying and course language from the Managing Director whilst employed with the Company. The Claimant is seeking redress in the form of compensation for financial loss and stress. He is also seeking a clean reference, fair procedures and natural justice.
The worker referred his claim to the Labour Court on the 9th November, 2005 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 13th July, 2006.
3.1 The Claimant claims that his dismissal was unfair for the following reasons:
- The normal grounds for dismissal, e.g. theft, assault, etc, did not apply;
- Prior to the dismissal, no disciplinary procedures such as verbal and written warnings were applied;
- No verbal reasons were given for the dismissal nor was a written termination notice issued;
- Being critical of inadequate processes and procedures and standing up to a bully are not adequate grounds for dismissal.
3. The Claimant claims that during his time with the Company he found the culture to be very hostile and driven by the top-down dictatorial management style of the Managing Director and Sales Director. He claims that it was most apparent at the weekly team meeting, which he found frustrating and of little benefit to him apart from when financial matters were being discussed.
4.1 The Company submits that the Claimant's dismissal was fair in the circumstances where he failed to satisfy the basic requirements of his position. He was employed for 5 months and failed to establish any of the systems he was specifically employed to implement and further failed to establish a positive working relationship with the existing staff and management.
2. The Company argues that it was not obliged to give verbal or written reasons to the Claimant for his dismissal in circumstances where his employment was being monitored pursuant to a probationary provision of the employment contract.
3. The Company reiterates that it at all times made the Claimant aware of what was required of him, in his position as company accountant and that it had also communicated its concerns to him when it became apparent that the requirements of the position were not being met.
4. The Company denies that there is a bullying culture within the Company. The Company stated that most of the key personnel are with the Company for between 7 to 22 years.
5. The Company claims that it is committed to generating and encouraging a team spirit amongst staff which is essential in any small enterprise.
Having considered the views of the parties expressed in their oral and written submissions, the Court is satisfied that the Company did not comply with procedures laid down in the Code of Practice on Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures (S.I. No. 146 of 2000). Specifically, management did not give any warnings to the claimant in relation to his performance and did not convey to him that his employment was in jeopardy. The Court notes that meetings held between the claimant and management were unproductive and frustrating.
Where an employee's employment is in jeopardy it is imperative that proper procedures are strictly followed. This is a requirement of good industrial relations practice and is also necessary so as to ensure that the employee is left in no doubt as to what is required and of the consequences if those requirements are not met.
Having regard to all circumstances of this case the Court is satisfied that the claimant's dismissal was unfair. The Court recommends that the claimant should be paid compensation in the amount of €10,000 in full and final settlement of his claim, and that he be furnished with a reference.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
20th July, 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.