The case of Caroline Mcaree v Newbrook Nursing Home Ulc Drumbear Lodge Nursing Home ADJ-00030614 is a very good example of a dismissal which was substantially unfair and which failed to follow the basic principles of natural justice and fair procedure.
In this case the employee was employed as Director of Nursing and submitted that she was summarily dismissed by her employer without reason or explanation. Her employer asserted that the termination of her employment complied with the provisions of her contract of employment and submitted that because of the crisis arising from the Covid pandemic, they were obliged to act in the best interest of patients and to put the safety of patients first. The employer contended that there were also some performance issues with the complainant but did not furnish any evidence of this. A HIQA report produced showed in fact that the nursing home scored very well in terms of overall inspection criteria.
The Adjudicator noted:
“On the basis of the forgoing evidence and chronology of events. I have concluded that the respondent has failed to produce or particularise evidence to support his inferences of misconduct or poor performance on the part of the claimant and consequently I find that the dismissal is substantively unfair”
Additionally I find that the arguments advanced by the complainant’s representative to the effect that the entire process was devoid of natural justice and in contravention of the respondent’s own procedures are compelling and persuasive.
In light of the foregoing I am satisfied that the dismissal was also procedurally unfair”
The complainant in this case was awarded €63,000 as compensation for unfair dismissal.