A timely reminder for employers this week who fail to attend Employment Appeals Tribunal hearings.
In the case of Michael Melleney v Optical Express (Southern) Limited UD 65/2013, MN1802/2011, WT 695/2011, the respondent failed to attend the hearing despite being properly notified of same. The Tribunal then proceeded to hear the uncontested evidence of the Claimant and ruled that the Claimant had been constructively dismissed and awarded the Claimant €123,000 as compensation under the Unfair Dismissal Act 1977 (as amended).
An employer has little option in this case but to appeal the award/facts to the Circuit Court and face potential costs exposure if unsuccessful. It is also likely that the courts will have little sympathy for an employer who fails to attend a scheduled hearing before the Employment Appeals Tribunal unless there is a very good reason for non-attendance.
In any event we would always recommend that parties attend the scheduled hearings as notified given the potential awards exposure. Equally many parties wait a considerable length of time for hearings to be scheduled and the times allocated should be used as efficiently as possible to prevent a backlog of cases building.