EMPLOYMENT APPEALS TRIBUNAL
CLAIM OF: CASE NO.
Susan Goodison – claimant UD1475/12
Rigney Dolphin – respondent
UNFAIR DISMISSALS ACTS, 1977 TO 2007
I certify that the Tribunal
(Division of Tribunal)
Chairman: Mr. N. Russell
Members: Mr. J. Hennessy
Mr. J. Flavin
heard this claim at Waterford on 15th July 2014.
Claimant: Mr. John P Goff, Nolan Farrell & Goff, Solicitors, Newtown,
Respondent: In person
The determination of the Tribunal was as follows:-
The respondent is an outsource service provider who deliver customised and effective client management solutions. The respondent has a workforce of approximately 250 employees.
HR Business Partner (LM) told the Tribunal that the company had lost a large contract with company V and this resulted in the company initiating a restructuring process. She had not been involved in the decision to make the claimant redundant. This witness was only in a position to give evidence by reference to a company file. The head of operations at the relevant time was IP and she communicated to the three operations managers (the claimant being one of them) that the number of operations roles were being reduced from three to two. Each of the three operations managers would be interviewed for the two positions.
Each manager had to complete a Personality Profile (Doc. 16PF), make a presentation and attend an interview.
On 30th May 2011 the claimant delivered her presentation and was interviewed for one of the positions. A matrix was devised by the company. The following day, 31st May 2011 the claimant was notified at a meeting that she was unsuccessful and her position was being made redundant. No minutes of this meeting were available. LIFO did not apply. Seniority or past performance within the company were not considered before the decision to select the claimant for redundancy was taken. The claimant then went on garden leave. The claimant was not offered a right of appeal. The claimant’s employment was terminated on 5th July 2012.
The claimant commenced employment in 2004 as a Customer Agent. She progressed to an administration role, team leader role and was appointed Operations Manager in 2007. She was in that role for five years. She had not encountered any difficulties during her tenure. She received a 100% bonus in January 2011. She had built relationships with clients.
The claimant said that the loss of the contract with company V was minimal and that it did not have a significant impact on the business.
She became aware in early May 2011 that the company was restructuring and the three Operations Managers roles were being reduced to two. She had to prepare a Personality Profile (Doc. 16PF), make a Presentation and then attend an Interview.
Following the claimant’s Presentation and Interview she was informed the next day that she was unsuccessful in securing one of the two Operations Managers roles. She was placed on garden leave. No alternatives to redundancy were discussed with the claimant. The following week she asked for a copy of the selection process. This was not furnished to her. The claimant’s first sight of the matrix was at today’s hearing.
The claimant secured alternative employment on 17th December 2012.
This matter came before the Tribunal by way of a claim under the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 2007. The fact of dismissal was not in dispute.
The respondent’s case was that the claimant was dismissed by way of redundancy. The claimant’s assertion was that the entire process of selection lacked transparency and that she was unfairly selected.
The respondent did not meet the onus on it of establishing to the satisfaction of the Tribunal that the dismissal was fair. The witness for the respondent was not involved in the process of terminating the claimant’s employment and could only give evidence by reference to the respondent’s file of papers.
Having considered the evidence of the respondent’s witness and the evidence provided by the claimant the Tribunal has arrived at the following conclusions:-
- Neither the redundancy process nor the criteria for selection were explained to the claimant.
- The role and weighting of the various elements of Presentation, Interview and Personality Profile (Doc. 16PF) were not clarified to the claimant nor was the witness for the respondent in a position to assist the Tribunal in explaining precisely how these criteria were applied or weighted.
- The scoring matrix was seen by the claimant for the first time at the Tribunal notwithstanding the fact that she had sought a copy on a number of occasions.
- The respondent was unable to explain the role of the Personality Profile (Doc. 16PF) in the selection for redundancy. Indeed, while clearly an element of the process, it did not feature in the scoring matrix.
- The Tribunal could not be satisfied that the process of selection was objective and fairly applied. The Tribunal could not be satisfied that extraneous matters were not a factor in the decision to dismiss the claimant.
- The Tribunal accepted the evidence of the claimant that the reason for her selection was not explained to or discussed with her and that she was not afforded the opportunity to make representations.
- The Tribunal was struck by the fact that the claimant made her presentation and went for interview on the 30th of May and was informed the very next day that her employment would be terminated effectively immediately. The claimant was not allowed to work her notice. No explanation for what appeared to the Tribunal to be undue haste was forthcoming.
- The claimant was not given any right to appeal the decision to select her for dismissal.
- There was no evidence to indicate that alternatives to redundancy were considered. The complete absence of any meaningful record of the process on the Respondent’s file gave credence to the Claimant’s evidence.
The Tribunal’s finding is that the claimant was unfairly dismissed. The claimant provided detailed information pertaining to her efforts to secure work and specifics of her salary level with the Company where she currently works.
Having considered the matter in its entirety, the Tribunal awards the claimant the sum of €40,000 by way of compensation. This is in addition to the sum of €9,369.34 already received by the claimant from the respondent in respect of her redundancy.
Sealed with the Seal of the
Employment Appeals Tribunal