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Employee awarded €1,000 for Unfair Dismissal in WRC due to his Significant Contribution to his Dismissal

On 16th May 2019, the Workplace Relations Commission (“WRC”) found the dismissal of the Claimant was substantively fair but procedurally unfair and awarded the Claimant €1,000 in compensation.  

Facts

The Claimant was employed by an employment agency and was placed with the Respondent as a bus driver from 18th October 2016 to 25th April 2018. The Claimant had an exemplary record in his employment and was awarded Employee of the year in 2017. The Claimant submitted that on 25th April 2018 he asked a second bus driver to move his bus so he could park his properly. The second bus driver then verbally abused him. The Claimant stated that he entered the bus and asked why he had verbally abused him.

Following this the Claimant was asked to a meeting with one of the supervisors. The Claimant told the supervisor that he had been verbally abused. The Claimant then left the room and was called back 10 minutes later and told to calm down. The Claimant submits he was then told that he was suspended for 2 days. The Claimant then told the Employment Agency what had happened and was told the employment agency would speak with him about his future on 26th April 2016. The Claimant never heard back from the employment agency and attempted to call the Respondent and sent messages but never received a reply. He attempted to access the site but his badge was blocked.

The Respondent submitted that at the meeting following the incident on 25th April 2018 the Claimant was asked if he had put his hands on the throat of the second bus driver and he said yes. The Claimant also stated, “I will get him after 6 o’clock”.

The Respondent then told the Claimant to go home. The Project Manager informed the employment agency that the Claimant was no longer allowed on the site. The Respondent stated that it was clear the Claimant was guilty of gross misconduct by assaulting another driver.   

Decision  

The Adjudicator noted the differing version of events submitted by both parties and concluded that given the Claimant’s exemplary record the Respondent would not have dismissed the Claimant solely based on an exchange of words with another bus driver. It was accepted that despite the Claimant’s exemplary record he would have been dismissed for engaging in a physical altercation.

As the Respondent did not engage in Grievance and Disciplinary procedure by not examining the Claimant’s grievance or by allowing the Claimant to respond fully to any allegations or complaints the Adjudicator held that procedurally the whole process was flawed.

The Adjudicator held that the Claimant’s actions did amount to gross misconduct in line with the case, DHL Express (Ireland) Ltd. v M Coughlan UDD1738 as it amounted to “very bad behaviour of such a kind that no reasonable employer could be expected to tolerate the continuance of the relationship for a minute longer”.

Furthermore the Adjudicator held that the decision to summarily dismiss the Claimant was within the range of reasonable responses of a reasonable employer and the Claimant had to bear a significant amount of responsibility for the incident that led to his dismissal.

The Adjudicator found the dismissal of the Claimant substantively fair but procedurally unfair and the Claimant contributed significantly to his own dismissal and therefore only awarded  the Claimant €1,000 in compensation. 

https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/cases/2019/may/adj-00016adj-00016838838.html

29th May 2019

 Anne O’Connell Solicitors

Fitzwilliam Hall, Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2

www.aocsolicitors.ie

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