EMPLOYMENT APPEALS TRIBUNAL
CLAIM(S) OF: CASE NO.
Liam Ryan - claimant UD1243/2012
SDS (Structural Design Solutions) Limited - respondent
UNFAIR DISMISSALS ACTS, 1977 TO 2007
I certify that the Tribunal
(Division of Tribunal)
Chairman: Dr. A. Courell B.L.
Members: Mr. D. Morrison
Mr T. Gill
heard this claim at Castlebar on 14th May 2014
Claimant(s) : In Person
Respondent(s) : Gilvarry & Associates, Solicitors, Unit 9, N5 Business
Park, Moneen Road, Castlebar, Co Mayo
Summary of Case
The claimant was employed as an architectural technician by the respondent structural and civil engineering company from January 2008. The Tribunal heard evidence from a director of the respondent company that the company employed 22 employees from 2007. Due to the general downturn in the economy, in particular the construction industry the company’s workforce reduced on a year by year basis from 2007. By 2012 the workforce had reduced to 8 employees.
The Tribunal heard evidence that the claimant was employed primarily on the architectural and design side of the business. Due to the unfavourable trading environment all employees received a pay reduction of 15% and in February 2010 all technical staff including the claimant were placed on a 3 day week. These employees were subsequently restored to full time positions in June 2010. In December 2011 following the near completion of a large social housing project where the claimant had been employed the company reviewed their current workload and projected workload. As there was no signs of positivity in the market and no prospect of acquiring new work the claimant’s position was identified to be made redundant. The decision was based on the financial circumstances of the company and the fact that the company was not acquiring any new work. He was given his notice in January 2012 and was made redundant on 29 February 2012. His workload was subsumed by the witness and his position was not replaced. He was paid his statutory redundancy entitlement.
The Tribunal heard further evidence that towards the end of February 2012 the company did acquire new work. This work was civil and structural engineering work which the company believed was not suited to the claimant. The witness gave evidence that during the course of his employment the claimant had minimal involvement with structural work as his primary area of work had been on architectural and design of buildings. The company retained employee (C) in employment at the time the claimant was made redundant. This was because employee (C) had an in-depth knowledge of building projects relating to a major customer, knowledge that the claimant did not possess.
The claimant gave evidence that he was unfairly selected for redundancy, in particular in comparison to employee (C). He told the Tribunal that his role within the company did not cease, it was merely distributed amongst other employees. A new amalgamated role was created by the company and he was not given the opportunity to compete for this position. Two other employees who were issued with their notice of redundancy at the same time as him were subsequently retained in their positions while he was made redundant. He told the Tribunal that it does not appear to him from the company’s accounts that the wage bill has reduced in accordance with his salary since he was made redundant.
He believed that he had longer service than employee (C) as he understood that (C) had broken his service with the company. He gave evidence that there was no huge difference in the work carried out by both himself and (C) and he would not have needed any training or up-skilling to carry out the duties that (C) continues to do for the company. He denied that his work was confined to an architectural aspect and gave evidence that while architectural, structural and civil engineering work are separate in terms of input they overlap and are not independent of each other. He stated that he did the same work as (C). He accepted that there had been a general reduction in staff due to the pressure of costs on the company and the Tribunal heard further evidence in relation to his efforts to mitigate his loss since the termination of his employment.
The Tribunal carefully considered the evidence adduced by both parties at the hearing. In all the circumstances the Tribunal is satisfied that a genuine redundancy situation existed and the claimant was not unfairly selected for redundancy. Accordingly the Tribunal finds that the claim under the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 2007 fails and is hereby dismissed.
Sealed with the Seal of the
Employment Appeals Tribunal