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Breach of Trust and Unfair Dismissal


The recent case of a Business Manager v A Skills and Training Company is very useful in addressing a number of important issues such as the bond of trust between an employer and an employee.

In this case an issue arose over the employee’s absences from work and the alleged alteration of emails. The employee was dismissed for gross misconduct.

The Workplace Relations Commission noted that one of the key issues was a Breach of Trust Argument where, the Complainant or employee was, from all the evidence and considering all probabilities, not truthful with the Respondent employer.

The case also looked in detail at the investigation process undertaken and the Adjudicator noted “There is extensive legal Authority regarding the Principle that the Tribunal or the Adjudicator is not to substitute themselves for the Employer and effectively engage in a de facto rerunning of a Disciplinary case”.

The Adjudicator observed

“The final decision here was a balance between the Proportionality of the Dismissal decision, the effective abandonment of the Disciplinary /Appeal processes by the Employee and the context of a proven Breach of Trust”.

He concluded that the dismissal was not unfair and that:

“My final Decision , from the evidence, is that the Dismissal was not Unfair on the grounds of Proportionality. The loss of Trust was proven. The Railway incident and the unusual documents demonstrated to the employer an employee who was prepared to attempt deception. The decision was within the Band of Reasonableness”.

The Adjudicator also noted that the fact that the complainant employee did not participate in the final stages of the Disciplinary process and the Appeal option were also significant negative grounds for her.


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