EMPLOYMENT APPEALS TRIBUNAL
CLAIM(S) OF : CASE NO.
Stephen Coleman, UD1635/2012
Glenferry Coaches Limited,
UNFAIR DISMISSALS ACTS, 1977 TO 2007
I certify that the Tribunal
(Division of Tribunal)
Chairman: Mr. E. Murray
Members: Ms. M. Sweeney
Ms. H. Kelleher
heard this case in Cork on 10 June 2014
Claimant(s): Mr. Donnchadh Kiely BL instructed by
Mr Eugene Murphy, Murphy English & Co, Solicitors,
Sunville, Carrigaline, Co Cork
Respondent(s): Mr. Paul Derham, Daly Derham Donnelly, Solicitors,
Florence Buildings, 1a Washington Street West, Cork
The determination of the Tribunal was as follows:-
An unfair dismissal claim was brought to the Tribunal in respect of the employment of a coach driver between April 2011 and July 2012. On a given day in June 2012 the claimant’s coach had failed to start whereupon a taxi was hired to transport SR (a French tour guide) and other passengers. The claimant was subsequently charged what he considered a grossly excessive amount for the taxi fare. It was alleged against the claimant that he had been so angered by this that he had gone from Cork to Limerick and stated that he wanted to kill SR.
It was alleged to the Tribunal that there was a co-ordinated fraud of the taxi-fare involving SR and the taxi-driver and prompted by a hotel porter but that matters had escalated from the relatively petty to the very dramatic when SR, on being told that the claimant had arrived in Limerick, took fright to the point of being unable to finish a hotel dinner, switching her hotel room with GB (a driver) and prematurely leaving the country at the apparent suggestion of a parent concerned for her safety.
The claimant did not deny having gone to Limerick and having pursued the matter of the taxi charge with both the Taxi Regulator and local Gardai but he told the Tribunal that he had left Limerick after doing some shopping with his wife. He had sought to find new employment to replace his part-time work for the respondent but had subsequently become unavailable for work for health reasons.
RK (the respondent’s principal), confronted with the risk to a significant contract, and with what he believed to be excessive zeal on the part of the claimant removed the claimant from the respondent’s payroll by placing him on suspension in July 2012 which suspension eventually led the claimant in November 2012 to seek his P45.
Having carefully considered both documentation and the evidence of witnesses, the Tribunal unanimously finds that the claimant was unfairly dismissed in that the respondent’s procedures were deficient. Whereas the Tribunal does not in any way criticise the claimant for making a complaint to either the Taxi Regulator or the Gardaí, nonetheless the Tribunal finds that in all the circumstances of the case, that the claimant very substantially contributed to the ending of his employment, by going to Limerick and by his general conduct.
The Tribunal finds that compensation to be the appropriate redress to impose and, allowing the claim under the Unfair Dismissals Acts, 1977 to 2007, unanimously deems it just and equitable to order the respondent to pay the claimant the sum of €5,000.00 (five thousand euro) under the said legislation.
Sealed with the Seal of the
Employment Appeals Tribunal