EMPLOYMENT APPEALS TRIBUNAL
Bridge House Hotel Limited
against the recommendation of the Rights Commissioner in the case of:
UNFAIR DISMISSALS ACTS 1977 TO 2007
I certify that the Tribunal
(Division of Tribunal)
Chairman: Mr T. Ryan
Members: Mr M. Carr
Mr J. Flannery
heard this appeal at Tullamore on 5th May and 21st June 2016
Appellant: Mr Liam Brennan, CME HR Consultancy, Mount Carmel, Spollanstown, Co. Offaly
Respondent: Ms Andrea Cleere of SIPTU, Liberty Hall, Eden Quay, Dublin 1
This case came before the Tribunal as an appeal by an employer, the appellant, against the recommendation of the Rights Commissioner reference r-150516-ud-14/MH under the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 2007.
The determination of the Tribunal is as follows:
The respondent gave evidence first because he alleges that he was dismissed as a result of trade union membership. The respondent was employed by the appellant for a period of approximately 7 months and therefore can only bring a claim for unfair dismissal under the terms of Section 6 of the 1977 Unfair Dismissals Act.
The respondent was recruited to improve cooking standards at the hotel. He brought new ideas particularly in the area of desserts and pastry.
Initially he was working on Christmas parties and after that the focus was on coffee and pastries.
The head chef stopped the respondent in a corridor on 22nd May 2014 and informed him that to save on labour costs people would be let go and his name was on the list. The respondent was not given the opportunity to put forward alternative ideas or to propose other ways of cutting costs.
The respondent mentioned his membership of a union in an email to the head chef on 26th May 2014.
The respondent denied receiving notice of termination 28th May 2014. His employment was terminated by letter dated 8th June 2014. His appeal of the decision to make him redundant was not successful. He was never told that he could not join a union.
The respondent’s union representative gave evidence. She was first in contact with the appellant through the internal union system the day after his employment ceased. He told her that he had been dismissed for union membership. She accepted that the letter of dismissal did not make any reference to union membership but likewise it makes no mention of redundancy. Also the criteria used to select the respondent for redundancy were not outlined.
The general manager gave evidence. The hotel had 238 employees. At the time the respondent was let go cash flow was disastrous. It was a struggle to meet the wages bill every week. Everything was looked at including more economic purchasing and elimination of all unnecessary costs.
There were no performance issues with the respondent. The general manager did not dismiss the respondent for union membership and his membership of a union was not an issue. The number employed in the kitchen reduced from 29 to 23. The respondent was not replaced.
The head chef gave evidence. He had no issue with the respondent being a union member and the respondent was not dismissed for union membership.
He spoke to the respondent in the corridor on 22nd May 2014 and told him that his position was under pressure. He did directly give the respondent notice
The Tribunal carefully considered the evidence adduced in this appeal. The respondent claimed that he was unfairly dismissed within the meaning of Section 6 (2) (a) of the Unfair Dismissals Act 1977. The Tribunal finds no evidence to substantiate this position.
The Tribunal accepts that a redundancy situation existed in the appellant business and despite some flaws in the procedure used, the dismissal of the respondent was by reason of redundancy and not as a result of his union membership. The appeal under the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 2007 succeeds and the recommendation of the Rights Commissioner is upset.
Sealed with the Seal of the
Employment Appeals Tribunal