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Unfair Dismissal and Award of €36,400 – A Timely Reminder for Employers

A General Operative v A Distributor is a recent case before the Workplace Relations Commission which highlights the failures of an employer to follow proper and fair procedure. A litany of failures was reported in this case.The employer (Respondent) in this case alleged that the employee (complainant) presented with unacceptable behaviour  at work and a complaint was received from its Office Manager relating to the alleged behaviour of the Complainant that morning. The Respondent submitted that during the clock in period the Complainant behaved inappropriately towards the Office Manager who was a female colleague. The employer stated that there was CCTV footage demonstrating the behaviour of the Complainant where the Respondent alleged the Complainant had come very close to the face of the Office Manager and that she felt intimidated. The CCTV footage was not available at the hearing.The Respondent referred back to an incident in 2015 when the Complainant was subject to a warming from his manager about his behaviour. The Respondent also advised that over the time of the Complainant’s employment the Managing Director and others had to speak to the Complainant with regards his inappropriate behaviour.The Complainant maintained he was never offered any procedure with regards to the decision to dismiss him.In this case the Workplace Relations Commission stated”In circumstances where the Respondent has failed to adhere to its own procedures, and in so doing has failed to provide the Complainant with an opportunity to have the allegations against him be properly investigated, has failed to afford him a disciplinary hearing, and failed to properly conduct an appeal process, I find the Respondent acts and omissions are of such a prejudicial and biased nature that the Respondent has breached its obligations under the Act”The complainant, who was a skilled operative was awarded €36,400 by way of compensation for unfair dismissal.

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