EMPLOYMENT APPEALS TRIBUNAL
Electrical And Pump Services Limited
UNFAIR DISMISSALS ACTS 1977 TO 2007
I certify that the Tribunal
(Division of Tribunal)
Chairman: Mr C. Corcoran B.L.
Members: Mr B. Kealy
Mr T. Brady
heard this claim at Dublin on 4th November 2015
Ms Aoife McGuinness, McDonough & Breen, Solicitors, Distillery House, Distillery Lane, Dundalk, County Louth
Mr Conor O'Connell, Construction Industry Federation, Construction House, 4 Eastgate Avenue, Little Island, Cork
The respondent manages water treatment plants throughout the country and the claimant was employed as an office administrator in the Dundalk plant from 31st March 2008 until she was dismissed by way of redundancy on 5th May 2014. The claimant was the only office administrator employed in the Dundalk office.
The claimant was absent on sick leave from January 2014 until the date of her redundancy and remains in receipt of illness benefit since her redundancy.
It was the respondent’s position that the bulk of the claimant’s duties were Transferred to it’s office in Mallow during the claimant’s absence and that consequently the claimant’s job in Dundalk became redundant. The decision to make the claimant redundant was taken by the Operations and Maintenance Manager and this decision was communicated to the claimant. It was considered that there was no alternative but to make the claimant redundant and therefore no discussion took place between the respondent and the claimant in this respect. The claimant was not told that she could be accompanied or represented at the meetings in relation to her redundancy. The claimant appealed the decision to make her redundant and the appeal hearing was conducted by the same person who made the decision to make her redundant.
It was the claimant’s position that she was unfairly selected for redundancy and that her duties ought not to have been transferred to Mallow in the first instance.
Having carefully considered the evidence adduced at the hearing the Tribunal finds that the claimant was unfairly dismissed by the respondent. There was an onus on the respondent to demonstrate to the Tribunal that the dismissal was fair and reasonable in all the circumstances. However the Tribunal is not satisfied that fair procedures were adopted by the respondent in selecting the claimant for redundancy.
The person who made the decision to dismiss the claimant by way of redundancy also conducted the appeal hearing in respect of this dismissal and this is a fundamental flaw in the procedures. The claimant was never advised of her right to be accompanied/represented at the meetings leading up to her dismissal, nor were any alternatives to redundancy considered. All in all there was a lack of clarity surrounding the claimant’s dismissal.
The Tribunal considers that compensation would be the appropriate remedy in this case. However given that the claimant has been in receipt of illness benefit since her dismissal and has been unavailable to work there has been no loss. In circumstances such as this the Tribunal has the discretion to award four weeks wages as compensation but given that the claimant already received a redundancy lump sum the Tribunal has decided to make no award under the Unfair Dismissals Acts, 1977 to 2007.
Sealed with the Seal of the
Employment Appeals Tribunal