EMPLOYMENT APPEALS TRIBUNAL
CLAIM(S) OF: CASE NO.
Angela Arnold – claimant UD722/2013
Premium Distribution Limited - respondent
Premium Distribution Limited – respondent
UNFAIR DISMISSALS ACTS, 1977 TO 2007
I certify that the Tribunal
(Division of Tribunal)
Chairman: Ms J. McGovern B.L.
Members: Mr. J. O'Neill
Mr P. Trehy
heard this claim at Dublin on 29th May 2014
Claimant(s): The claimant in person
Respondent(s): Director of the respondent
The determination of the Tribunal was as follows:-
The claimant was employed with the respondent as an office Administrator. A director of the company gave evidence and indicated that the respondent distributed cosmetics to pharmacies in Ireland. His wife AB is CEO of the respondent. The company had a contract with a supplier UD who undertook deliveries twice a day to pharmacies. The company paid a percentage to the respondent for undertaking deliveries. This supplier informed the director that it could undertake the tasks that the respondent did without incurring a cost to the respondent. The respondent outsourced its warehouse activity and billing the previous year. The respondent’s office was located over a warehouse which is now not in use.
The director told the Tribunal that he met with the claimant on the 11th March 2013 regarding an issue that had arisen in the office. The following Friday the claimant was sick and she submitted a medical certificate. At the start of April 2013, having examined the books and records of the company, he realised that the respondent was probably insolvent. At that point redundancies were implemented as he could not pay overheads. Employees were selected for redundancy including the claimant. The claimant was absent for six weeks and her colleagues undertook her work.
The claimant was due in work on Monday 6 May 2013 and he made a decision to make her redundant on Friday 3 May 2013. Two other employees who were sales representatives were made redundant also as they were not producing sales figures. When the claimant was ill due to sick leave her role was allocated to administrative staff. Following the claimant’s redundancy her role was not replaced.
Ultimately in September 2013 all employees were let go and were paid their full entitlement as the business has ceased. The respondent company is insolvent but has not been wound up.
The claimant told the Tribunal that she was called to a meeting on the 8 March 2013. In attendance at the meeting were the respondent’s wife AB and BB. BB reprimanded her for e-mailing a sales representative TF. BB and AB told her that everyone had a grudge against her. She was informed that she was lucky to be working with AB. She was an office junior and she undertook the day to day running of the business.
AB asked her to provide a job description as she did not know what work the claimant undertook. The claimant was distraught on leaving the meeting and it was the first time that she ever took a half day off work. She believed she was a good worker and in fact was overworked. She compiled a list of work that she undertook at the week-end as requested.
On the 11 March 2013 she reported for work at 10.30a.m.and she requested to speak to AB regarding the meeting that took place on Friday 8th March 2013. She asked AB about BB’s role as he was not an employee of the company which appeared to annoy AB. She asked AB what employees complained about her and she was told that she could not tell her as it was not a formal complaint. She did not have a problem with three of the sales representatives and she did not know the fourth sales representative TF. Before she gave AB the job list she asked her “do you really want to work for the respondent”. She was asked to hand in her keys that evening and she was absent for two weeks and prescribed medication for anxiety.
She attended a meeting on the 7 May 2013 with the director and a colleague EB. She was handed her P45 and there was no discussion. She expressed her dissatisfaction to the director. She e mailed AB that she would collect her belongings the next day. AB did not want her on the premises. The director told her that she thought that she could not be done without.
The claimant is currently undertaking work on a CE scheme.
The Tribunal considered the evidence of both parties carefully. While the claimant’s redundancy was very poorly handled the Tribunal finds that a genuine redundancy situation existed. The claimant’s role was subsumed by other members of the respondent and an outside contractor and the Company ultimately ceased trading in September 2013. The claimant was however badly treated in general. She appears to have attended some unusual meetings with AB prior to the redundancy but AB did not attend the hearing to give evidence in this regard. In all the circumstances, the Tribunal believe that there was a real redundancy and the claimant therefore was not unfairly dismissed. Her claim under the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 2007 fails. As the claimant was made redundant she is entitled to receive her statutory redundancy.
Sealed with the Seal of the
Employment Appeals Tribunal