INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
MAYPARK LANE LIMITED T/A MAYPARK HOUSE
(REPRESENTED BY PENINSULA BUSINESS SERVICES (IRELAND) LIMITED)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Ms Cryan
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Unfair dismissal.
2. Maypark House Nursing Home and Rockshire Care Centre are designed to accommodate the needs of 42 retired, infirm and sick people. It is approved by all the leading health insurance companies, the Department of Health and HSE.
The Claimant was employed as a Staff Nurse on a relief basis working various hours from May 2010 until her dismissal in September 2011. The Union's claim is that the dismissal was grossly unfair and are seeking a high level of compensation.
On the 19th May, 2011 the Union referred the issue to the Labour Court, in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 9th November 2011.
The Union agreed to be bound by the Court’s Recommendation.
3. 1. The Employer has not behaved reasonably or fairly by failing to follow the guiding principles of the code of practice of the Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures and the Unfair Dismissals Acts.
2. This unfair dismissal has had a devastating effect on the Claimant's hard earned reputation and good name gained over a period of 17 years. She has suffered both emotionally and financially as a result of losing her job and more importantly, her professional reputation.
4. 1. Two performance issues were raised verbally with the Claimant, one regarding a missing item of medication and the other regarding a marked deterioration in a resident's condition after her shift, which she had failed to document. Both of these issues are considered serious enough to hold a probation review but it was decided to allow her a further opportunity to improve her performance.
2. An anonymous complaint by a relative of a resident in a nursing home is not unusual especially given the fear of repercussions. The complaint came at a time when a number of nursing homes had been closed down as a result of elder abuse. Due to the gravity of the complaint and the removal of a resident from the nursing home, it could not be ignored. Therefore Management were compelled to dismiss the Claimant as is their right during her probationary period of employment.
- The issue before the Court concerns the dismissal of the Claimant on 23rd September 2010. The Claimant was employed as a Staff Nurse in the nursing home and was dismissed during the period of her probation.
Having considered the submissions of both parties the Court is satisfied that the manner of the Claimant’s dismissal fell far short of the standard of fairness that could be expected from a reasonable employer. The Claimant was not presented with sufficient details to address an anonymous complaint made implicating her in alleged difficulties in the running of the nursing home. A decision was hastily taken to dismiss the Claimant without a sufficient investigation of the matter and the persons who made the decision to dismiss the Claimant also heard her appeal.
These actions are contrary to the requirements of procedural fairness and good practice. They are also contrary to the provisions of the Code of Practice on Grievance and Disciplinary Procedure (S.I. No. 146 of 2000). For all of these reasons the Court finds that the dismissal of the Claimant was unfair.
The Court recommends that the Claimant should be paid compensation in the amount of €6,500 in full and final settlement of the claim before the Court.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
17th November, 2011______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to John Foley, Court Secretary.