INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
(REPRESENTED BY RICHARD H MCDONNELL SOLICITORS)
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Ms Doyle
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation R-077384-Ir-09/RG
2. The worker was employed as a bus driver from 23rd June, 2008, until 25th March, 2009, when he claims that he was unfairly dismissed. He claims that he was paid €348 by cheque and €152 in cash per week but the employer denies that there was a cash payment i.e. €348 in total.
The worker's case is that the employer asked him to go on a 3-day week which the worker was agreeable to but then the employer changed his mind and deducted €50 from his weekly wage. The worker confronted the employer and admits that had an argument. On the 25th March, 2008, the employer sent two men to collect the bus from the worker and shortly after this informed him that he was dismissed with immediate effect.
The employer's case is that the dismissal was not unfair as the worker had threatened him twice and, therefore, had committed acts of gross misconduct.
The dispute was referred to a Rights Commissioner whose recommendation was as follows:
"On the basis of the evidence I find and recommend as follows:
- 1. Both parties confirmed that the Claimant had not been issued with written procedures by the Employer in relation to a dismissal of an employee.
2. Both parties confirmed that the Employer sent two other Drivers to collect his, the Claimant's Bus, in or around the 20th March 2009. The Employer phoned the Claimant the same day and dismissed him with immediate effect. He was not told the reason/s for his dismissal nor was he afforded an opportunity to appeal his dismissal. This is in breach of Statutory Instrument S.I. 146/2000, Industrial Relations Act, 1990 (Code of Practice on Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures) (Declaration) Order, 2000.
The employer appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 15th April, 2010, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 10th August, 2010.
3. 1. The worker was unfairly dismissed. He was given no reason for the dismissal and received no notice or right of appeal.
2. The worker was paid €500 per week. He had left a higher paying job and would not have worked for €348 per week as the employer claims.
3. The worker did not not start any of the trouble. He admits that he had strong words with the employer but he did not threaten him as claimed.
4. 1 The worker had lost one of his bus runs so the employer offered him less work for less money. However, he did offer him other work in compensation but this was refused.
2. The employer felt threatened by the worker's behaviour and there was a witness on one occasion when he was threatened.
Having considered the submissions of the parties it is clear to the Court that the Claimant was dismissed in contravention of the normal standards of procedural fairness that are to be expected from any employer
It seems clear that the Claimant was not told in clear and unequivocal terms that his continued employment was in jeopardy before the decision was taken to dismiss him. Consequently, he had no opportunity to offer any defence against the misconduct alleged against him.
In these circumstances the Court is satisfied that the findings of the Rights Commissioner are reasonable and are supported by the facts of the case. Moreover, the Court is satisfied that the compensation recommended by the Rights Commissioner is reasonable and fair.
Accordingly, the recommendation of the Rights Commissioner is affirmed and the appeal is disallowed.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
24th August, 2010.______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.