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Unfair Dismissal – Is there an actual dismissal?

The recent Workplace Relations Commission case of Edward Monahan and Edward McGuiness and Sons Limited ADJ00026884 deals with the question of what arises when it is not clear whether there has in fact been a dismissal or not. In this case the Complainant employee had telephoned his employer prior to Christmas outlining that there had been a shortfall in a holiday payment due to him. The complainant alleged his employer used foul language to him however this was denied by his employer. The complainant understood that he was dismissed as a result of the call and did not return to work in January. His employer subsequently telephoned him in January asking why he had not returned to work.

On balance the Adjudicator found the evidence of the complainant employee to be more credible and awarded him the actual losses suffered of €1,750 as part of his claim for unfair dismissal.

This case is a reminder for employers to be careful in the manner in which any disputes or dismissals arise and to ensure there is no ambiguity around the status of employee’s employment. Otherwise an employee could believe that their employment has come to an end.

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