EMPLOYMENT APPEALS TRIBUNAL
CLAIM OF: CASE NO.
Orla Donnelly - Claimant UD627/12
Tesco Ireland Limited T/A Tesco - Respondent
UNFAIR DISMISSALS ACTS, 1977 TO 2007
I certify that the Tribunal
(Division of Tribunal)
Chairman: Ms. E. Kearney BL
Members: Mr. W. O'Carroll
Ms. H. Murphy
heard this claim at Galway on 26th February 2014 and 12th June 2014
Claimant: Mr James Charity BL instructed by Michael J. Bradbury & Co. Solicitors,
Unit 12, Glenrock Business Park, Bothar Na Mine, Tuam Road, Galway.
Respondent: Ms. Muireann McEnery, IBEC, Gardner House, Bank Place, Charlotte Quay ,
The claimant gave evidence that she commenced working for the respondent supermarket in September 1999. She was initially employed as a check-out operator working day shifts. She enjoyed her job and had a good relationship with the management of the supermarket. She completed a trainee management programme and was subsequently appointed to the position of acting duty manager in January 2006 on night shift duties. As acting duty manager she had a position of responsibility and all staff reported to her. She worked an average working week of 39 hours and reported to her line manager(s) known as (D) and (E).
She told the Tribunal that from her first night working as duty manager she began to encounter difficulties with employees, in particular an employee known as (G). She gave evidence that employees would not speak to her and she was told by manager (D) not to go into (G’s) aisle as she attacks. She outlined to the Tribunal a number of instances when she was physically and verbally attacked by (G) and profanities were regularly uttered in her direction. She reported the instances to (E) but no steps were taken to investigate the matters, she never received a satisfactory response to the issues that she raised. The name calling and work environment remained the same. She attended a number of meetings with management and was told that everybody had to just try and get along with one another. She gave evidence that the work environment began to deteriorate further and described the treatment to which she was being subjected as a campaign of bullying. She became very frustrated as no action was taken by management even though she continued to report the issues to them. She gave evidence that (G’s) brother who was also a shop steward became involved in the name calling and matters deteriorated further. She had nobody to confide in and felt that she was no longer able to carry out her duties as duty manager. She stated that she was told on one occasion by manager (E) that (G) had been correct to tell her to get out of her aisle. No explanation was given to her for this remark. She did not believe that management were listening to her complaints and every door was shut in her face.
By October 2011 she was very stressed, she felt she could no longer perform her duties and decided to leave her employment. She felt that she had no option but to resign and she did so by way of letter dated 10 October 2011. She then received a letter dated 27 October 2011 from the Personnel Manager known as (C) requesting that her to call in and speak with her to see if the company could accommodate her in another department. It was also suggested that she return to day shift duties but this was not an option as (G’s) colleagues and brother, the shop steward worked day duties. She told the Tribunal that she no longer felt safe in the store. She outlined to the Tribunal the efforts she has made to secure alternative employment since her resignation and is now self-employed.
She accepted that she received induction training when she commenced employment with the respondent company and was trained on all policies and procedures and was familiar with the company’s grievance procedures. She accepted that she did not raise any of her grievances in writing but stated that management were aware of her grievances. She was advised on one occasion by manager (E) to put her grievance in writing and she did not do so. She completed a number of performance reviews with management and understood these to be reviews of the operation of her job. She did not believe that the reviews were forums to raise her grievances. She believed that (G) was jealous of her (the claimant’s) promotion and that was the reason for her actions.
AF was the claimant’s Line Manager. He had an ok relationship with the claimant. He recalled an incident in 2010 in the store. An aisle had been blocked and he spoke to the claimant at the time. She denied having been the cause of the incident. He was aware that both the claimant and G did not work well together. Neither the claimant nor G wanted to move from night work to day time work. A decision was taken that both G and the claimant work on opposite sides of the store.
C is Personnel Manager and in this role since 2006. During the claimant’s employment in the company she never raised a grievance with her.
The claimant was offered a position in Castlebar in 2006 which required an hour’s travel. She declined this offer. She also declined an offer of a position on Headford Road in 2008. She responded that she did not want to move to this shop.
In the years 2007 and 2009 issues raised were dealt with informally. The claimant attended meetings with C and G. All issues were addressed and at the conclusion of the meetings both the claimant and G were happy not to proceed any further. Notes were taken at the time of these informal meetings but not retained by the company. At no point was any issue raised ever put in writing.
In 2010 the claimant was promoted to a Team Leader position. Seventy five per cent of her work entailed carrying out her normal duties and twenty five per cent required training staff. She was offered a transfer to a new store in Oranmore but declined that offer.
In or around early October 2011 the claimant was absent on sick leave for three days. The following Monday her sister rang C and informed her that the claimant was in a bad place and she had an issue with G. On 10th October 2011 the claimant submitted her resignation. Following that letter C wrote to the claimant and wished to speak to her before accepting the claimant’s resignation. While C had several conversations with the claimant between 10th October and 27th October 2011 with a view to trying to meet her, the claimant declined to attend any meetings. On 27th October 2011 C asked the claimant to call to see her with a view to accommodating the claimant in another store. C was subsequently informed that the claimant had secured alternative employment.
The Tribunal carefully considered the evidence adduced during the course of this two dayhearing.
Although the working regime was unique in the store, that being, that over a period of time both the claimant and G worked in different parts of the store, it seemed bar a number of isolated incidents over the years, to be working.
The claimant never made a complaint at annual review times which took place over the years that she had a grievance. Further at no stage, did the claimant invoke the grievance procedures in writing in relation to the issues she had with G. Further, the Tribunal finds it questionable that there were offers to transfer to both the Headford Road and Oranmore stores which were reasonable in the circumstances and the claimant chose to stay in her employment. The Tribunal also finds it unreasonable that the claimant, when asked repeatedly by telephone by the Personnel Manager to come in and discuss her resignation and see whether the respondent could assist her, she refused informing the Personnel Manager that she had obtained another job.
The Tribunal is not satisfied taking all the evidence into account that the claimant was left with no other option but to resign. Therefore, the claim under the Unfair Dismissals Acts, 1977 to 2007 fails.
Sealed with the Seal of the
Employment Appeals Tribunal