EMPLOYMENT APPEALS TRIBUNAL
CLAIM(S) OF: CASE NO.
- claimant RP994/2012
Spring Grove Services Limited
MINIMUM NOTICE AND TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT ACTS, 1973 TO 2005
REDUNDANCY PAYMENTS ACTS, 1967 TO 2007
UNFAIR DISMISSALS ACTS, 1977 TO 2007
I certify that the Tribunal
(Division of Tribunal)
Chairman: Mr E. Murray
Members: Mr D. Hegarty
Mr O. Wills
heard this claim at Cork on 5th February 2014
and 16th July 2014
Claimant(s) : Mr David Gaffney, Sweeney, Solicitors, Marlboro House,
Marlboro Street, Cork
Respondent(s) : Ms Róisín Bradley, IBEC, Confederation House, 84/86 Lower
Baggot Street, Dublin 2
The Claimant in this case commenced employment with the Respondent on the 20th of February 2006. The Respondent operates a linen service to hospitals, hotels etc. The Claimant was initially employed in the Respondent’s plant at Millfield in Cork which is essentially a laundry. Subsequently, in March 2007 he was offered a position by the then General Manager to work at the Cork University Hospital who were clients of the Respondent company which he accepted. There were six people employed by the Respondent at this location and one other who covered holidays etc. In 2012 the Claimant was on leave and when he returned he was advised that the company had decided to reduce the compliment of workers in Cork University Hospital by one. The unsuccessful candidate was to be transferred to the Millfield plant. He discovered that the company wished to embark on an interview process in this regard. He attended the interview and queried at the interview why a “last in first out” system was not being used to determine who would remain in the hospital. At that time he was the longest serving staff member employed by the Respondent at Cork University Hospital. The job in Cork University Hospital was a more desirable job than the Millfield job. The hospital was closer to his home. There was a €25.00 per week extra pay and lunch allowance associated with the hospital job. There were no expenses associated with the Millfield job. Ultimately, he was told of the outcome of the interview process and he was advised that he was not successful and that he should report for duty to the Millfield plant. He protested and it was recommended to him that he should take the position “under protest” but report to Millfield nonetheless. A meeting was held between himself, his Solicitor and representatives of the company and he was told that there was no job in the hospital for him anymore but that they would discuss the other issues with him. The Claimant did not return to work on the 29th of August 2012. The Tribunal was puzzled as to why “last in and first out” was not used in this instance as the employment was essentially minimum wage, not skilled work. The Respondent however told the Tribunal that the company does not operate a “last in first out” policy in any aspect of their activities.
It appears to the Tribunal that the Respondent in transferring the Claimant from Cork University Hospital back to the Millfield site after seven years’ service in the hospital did not have regard to the fact that the Claimant would stand to lose considerable income, i.e., income in the region of €40.00 per week by virtue of his transfer. Furthermore the Claimant would have had the protection of the Transfer Of Undertakings Directive in his job in the hospital but no similar protection in his job in the plant. These are two significant oversights on behalf of the company and the Tribunal are unanimous in the view that the Respondent’s actions were unreasonable and that they justified the resignation of the Claimant.
Consequently the claim under the Unfair Dismissal Acts succeeds.
The Tribunal have at length considered the possible remedies that are appropriate in this case and have concluded (having regard in particular to the size and diversity of the Respondent’s operation in Cork) that the most appropriate remedy is that of re-engagement. Consequently the Tribunal orders that the Claimant be re-engaged by the Respondent under the same terms and conditions that he previously enjoyed.
The Tribunal orders that the Claimant should be re-engaged within 15 days from the date of this determination.
Having regard to the above claims under the Redundancy Payments Acts 1967 to 2007 and the Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Acts 1973 to 2005 fail.
Sealed with the Seal of the
Employment Appeals Tribunal