ADJUDICATION OFFICER DECISION/RECOMMENDATION
Adjudication Decision Reference: ADJ-00000856
Complaint for Resolution:
Complaint/Dispute Reference No.
Date of Receipt
Complaint seeking adjudication by the Workplace Relations Commission under Section 8 of the Unfair Dismissals Act, 1977
Date of Adjudication Hearing: 15/03/2016
Workplace Relations Commission Adjudication Officer: John Walsh
In accordance with Section 41(4) of the Workplace Relations Act, 2015 and under section 8 of the Unfair Dismissals Act, 1977 following the referral of the complaint to me by the Director General, I inquired into the complaint and gave the parties an opportunity to be heard by me and to present to me any evidence relevant to the complaint.
The Complainant commenced employment with the Respondent on 14 Oct 2013. He worked as an Area manager. On 21 January 2015 he was involved in a workplace accident which resulted in injuries when crates fell on top of him. He alleges that he was constructively dismissed from his employment because of unreasonable behaviour by the Respondent when he was on sick leave. These actions of the Respondent left him no choice but to resign from his employment on 25 November 2015.
- Since the company received a letter from my solicitor in March 2015 regarding a claim for personal injuries suffered at work, M. O. N. has acted in an entirely inappropriate and unprofessional manner. I have since been issued with a written warning due to excessive sick leave. I have recently been informed by e-mail I have been given a verbal and a written warning for poor performance at work, no issues have ever been raised before. I do not believe proper procedure has been followed and that disciplinary action is improperly motivated.
- I have been accused by C of making a fraudulent personal injuries claim. C has cited my alleged unwillingness to meet him and my activity on social media as proof of same. I regard this issue of fraud as an outrageous slur on my character. It is also entirely unprofessional and unsubstantiated.
- 3.I have been harassed with phone calls, e-mails (one was apparently sent at 01:55 am), texts and voicemails to discuss y claim. There have been two unannounced home visits (in January and February 2015). It is not clear to me on what authority any of these things were done by C but a solicitor is instructed in the Personal Injuries action and I contend that all matters pertaining to the Personal Injuries action should proceed through that channel. I accept that issues relating to my employment are valid matters for correspondence but the extent and nature of the efforts to contact me are wholly improper. For example, as recently as Friday 06/11/15 I received a call from C at 10:40pm which I believe is an inappropriate hour to be trying to contact me.
- The sentiments expressed and the tone and language used in correspondence from C to me are entirely unprofessional and the intent appears to be to drive me out of my job.
The fact that C is the Managing Director concerns me gravely in the context of this complaint but I feel bullied and harassed and I feel I have no option other than to formalise my grievance.
I have, due to the behaviour of my employers Managing Director in accusing me of fraudulent behaviour, improper conduct and poor performance, been left with no option but to resign my position and I have effectively been constructively dismissed.
The Respondent did not attend for the hearing.
Based on the uncontested evidence presented at the hearing I find that as a result of personal injuries received at work the Complainant instructed his solicitor to pursue a claim against the respondent. The response of the Respondent while he was on sick leave was inappropriate and unprofessional. The Complainant was issued with a written warning for excessive sick leave. He was informed by e-mail that he had been given a verbal and written warning for poor performance at work even though no issues had previously been raised. He received phone calls e-mails, texts and voice-mails to discuss his personal injuries claim despite the fact that his solicitor was on record in relation to his personal injuries claim. The Complainant made a decision to resign from his employment as he was convinced that the unprofessional behaviour of the Respondent left him no choice.
Section 41(4) of the Workplace Relations Act 2015 requires that I make a decision in relation to the complaint in accordance with the relevant redress provisions under Schedule 6 of that Act.
Section 8(1B) of the Unfair Dismissals Act, 1977 requires that I make a decision in relation to the unfair dismissal claim consisting of a grant of redress in accordance with section 7 of the 1977 Act.
Based on the uncontested evidence presented at the hearing I recommend that the complaint is well founded in that the Complainant had no choice but to resign from his employment due to the unprofessional behaviour of the Respondent while he was on sick leave. In determining compensation due to the Complainant for being unfairly dismissed I note that he only applied for a total of 5 jobs since the date of his dismissal on 25 November 2015. The Complainant should have been much more proactive in seeking employment.
I order that the Respondent pay to the Complainant compensation in the sum of €5,000 for being unfairly dismissed contrary to the terms of the Unfair Dismissals Act, 1977.
This sum should be paid within 6 weeks of the date of this decision.
DATE: 8th August 2016