EMPLOYMENT APPEALS TRIBUNAL
CLAIMS OF: CASE NO.
Olivia Dempsey – Claimant UD788/2014
C & F Automotive Limited T/A Iralco – Respondent
UNFAIR DISMISSALS ACTS 1977 TO 2007
I certify that the Tribunal
(Division of Tribunal)
Chairman: Mr. P. O’Leary B.L.
Members: Mr. P. Pierson
Ms. H. Henry
heard this claim at Longford on 1st July 2015 and at Mullingar on 3rd November 2015
Claimant: Mr Conor Quinn of John J. Quinn & Company, Solicitors, Earl Street, Longford
Respondent: Thomas Harrington, In House Legal Advisor of Group, C/O C & F Automotive Limited, Collinstown, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath
This case was heard in tandem with UD785/2014.
The decision of the Tribunal was as follows:-
The operations manager gave evidence. The respondent’s business is making decorative trims for cars. In March 2014 the business was making a considerable loss. The manufacture of some products was moved abroad and other products were coming to a natural end. 17 redundancies were made.
On 10 August 2008 there was a Sunday meeting of the employees to accept or reject proposed changes in their terms and conditions of employment. The new document was signed by 7 union representatives on behalf of the workforce. The New Green Book was introduced on 22 September 2008. Last in First out, in the event of redundancy was replaced by choice based on business needs. The New Green Book was widely available and it was posted on the website.
The claimant was a general operative and over the years she has performed a number of different tasks. He did not know how long she had been in her final role. The claimant worked with 3 others and she was the floater who completed the work unfinished by the others. The volume of worked reduced significantly and therefore the floater was no longer needed. On that basis he decided to make the claimant redundant.
The operations manager did not know whether the claimant had more or less service than her 3 colleagues. He could not remember how many general operatives were made redundant at that time.
The operations manager and the HR manager met the claimant to inform her of her redundancy. The claimant left the meeting before the HR manager could explain the situation to her.
Employees were not formally notified that redundancies would be made. It was an open secret. The employees knew that the business was doing badly.
The operations manager said that general operatives were hired again about 2 months after the claimant was made redundant. It did not occur to him to offer one of the positions to the claimant.
The HR manager gave evidence. She acknowledged the claimant’s letter appealing the termination of her employment. However the claimant was made redundant on 6 March 2014. When the HR manager checked the procedure she decided that the appeal was out of time. The claimant had 5 days to appeal. The claimant’s letter of appeal was dated 14 March 2014. The claimant’s redundancy notification letter made no mention of an appeal.
The HR manager did not contact the claimant again.
The claimant gave evidence. She began working for the respondent in 2005 as a general operative. She received some training at the start of her employment and she was given an Employee Handbook – the Old Green Book - but never got the new one.
The claimant did attend the meeting on 10 August 2010 where new work practices were agreed by the workforce. She remembered that the weekly working hours went from 39 to 40. She did not remember voting at the meeting. She accepted that the New Green Book, the revised terms and conditions were agreed by the union representatives but she never got a copy and the changes were not explained to her.
On the day she was made redundant her supervisor told her to go to the HR office. The production manager and the HR manager were waiting for her and they had the letter for her. The operations manager had a smirk on his face and he told her to leave immediately. There was nothing she could do. She did not sign a document. She just took the letter and left. She was paid redundancy.
A week after her employment ended the claimant went for advice to the CIC. There she was helped to draw up the letter appealing her redundancy. This letter was acknowledged by the HR manager but she heard nothing further from the respondent.
The claimant gave evidence of loss.
The Tribunal carefully considered the evidence adduced in this case. The Tribunal accepts the respondent’s view that redundancies were necessary due to financial difficulties.
Despite much discussion at the Hearing of the Old Green Book and its replacement with the New Green Book the respondent did not have recourse to either in effecting the claimant’s redundancy. No matrix or list or objective list of criteria was given to the claimant to justify her redundancy.
No selection process was used, the claimant was given no opportunity to make representations and her letter of appeal was ignored. Therefore, the Tribunal finds that the claimant was unfairly dismissed. The claim under the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 2007 is successful.
In all the circumstances the claimant is awarded the sum of €20,000.00.
Sealed with the Seal of the
Employment Appeals Tribunal