ADJUDICATION OFFICER DECISION
Adjudication Decision Reference: ADJ-00003416
Complaint for Resolution:
Complaint/Dispute Reference No.
Date of Receipt
Complaint seeking adjudication by the Workplace Relations Commission under section 7 of the Terms of Employment (Information) Act, 1994
Date of Adjudication Hearing: 25/08/2016
Workplace Relations Commission Adjudication Officer: Gaye Cunningham
In accordance with Section 41(4) of the Workplace Relations Act, 2015, and Section 7 of the Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994, 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.
Attendance at Hearing:
A Hotel Worker
Complainant’s Submission and Presentation:
The complainant is employed as a Waitress at the Respondent’s Hotel, since 17th April 2015. She has a number of complaints regarding her employment, outlined in her complaint form, summary as follows: When the hotel was sold, all employees were called to a meeting in the hotel and we were informed that our terms and conditions of employment as set out in our contract of employment would remain the same but since the new owners have taken over the hotel on the 11th of march 2016 my weekly working hours have steadily decreased significantly . I have to travel to work incurring significant expense but having to work 3 or 4 hours and to be sent home early on some days . I receive constant phone calls on an almost daily basis changing my working hours , sometimes adding an hour here or there and sometimes cancelling a complete shift altogether. I have gone from working between 30- to 40hrs a week to working below 20hours a week some weeks , Since the take over they have employed two new staff members a new supervisor and a new manager and yet they cant find the hours for us to work also a lot of the days I work between 4-6 hours and do not get a break and it is still taken out of my wages. Today the 12th of may 2016 I worked an 8hr shift with no break because the hotel was under staffed. The hotel recently issued a statement on the 21st April 2016 stating that there was a degree of uncertainty for staff in the hotel when in receivership no the future of the hotel is secure this is in stark contrast to the reality of our complete change of working conditions and terms of employment I certainly do not feel any sense of security or certainty since the meeting of change of ownership when we were informed our terms and conditions would not change . There are rumours circulating amongst staff that there will be 6 in house foreign exchange students working in the hotel for the summer and that they are to be given 40hr a week if this does happen it will further undermine my position I believe how many hours would be available for me then?? Also there are contractors / painters decorators working in the hotel at the moment in receipt of 3 meals a day for free and a discount on alcoholic beverages this does not apply to any other employee as far as I know. We sometimes do not get proper breaks and we certainly do not receive any discounts on beverages in the hotel . I have made this complaint because I have been working in the hotel for over a year now and its only since the new owners have taken over I feel like I am being pushed out of my job it is currently and completely financially and economically unsustainable for me to continue to work in these conditions taking in to account my travel cost to and from work for a 4 hour shift.
Respondent’s Submission and Presentation
The respondent rejects the claim that it has breached any section of the Act.
The Hotel currently employs 69 employees. It was in receivership until March 2016 when new owners took over. A massive investment has been spent on refurbishment and this is a clear signal that the new management are serious about keeping those 69 employees employed.
It is argued that (a) the complainant was issued with a written contract of employment within the time period outlined in section 3 of the Act and (b) that whilst the company would argue that in reducing the complainant’s hours for a period of less trading this did not constitute a change made as per the Act. Monthly staff meetings allowed for information regarding the progress of the business to be made known to employees. Further it is contended that clauses in the complainant’s contract and employee handbook allow for such changes.
The complaint submitted is that a change having been made to the complainant’s terms and conditions of employment, i.e. reduced working hours, such change was not notified in writing.
The complainant had many more complaints regarding her employment. However, I am confined to making a decision in relation to the specific provisions of the Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994. Specifically: Section 3 of the Act provides that an employer shall furnish to the employee such written terms of conditions of employment as specified within that section of the Act within two months of the commencement of the employee’s employment. I find that this section was complied with by the respondent.
Section 5 of the Act provides:
“Subject to subsection (2), whenever a change is made or occurs in any of the particulars of the statement furnished by an employer under section 3, 4, or 6, the employer shall notify the employee in writing of the nature and date of the change as soon as may be thereafter, but not later than one month after the change takes effect”.
I have reviewed the contents of the complainant’s written contract of employment dated 21st April 2015, and the records of hours worked by the complainant as provided by the respondent.
The hours of work clause in the contract provides that the normal number of hours worked would be 78 hours per fortnight. However, there is no guarantee in the contract that maximum hours would be provided, and the contract provides that the employer may reduce the normal hours of work if, in the view of the hotel, this is necessary for any reason. Having reviewed the evidence submitted, I find that Section 5 of the Act has not been breached.
As per Section 7 of the Act, I declare that the complainant’s complaint is not well founded.
Dated: 12th December 2016