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Employer ordered to pay €20,000 to employee as a result of a disproportionate sanction

The recent WRC case of a Healthcare Support Worker v Healthcare Provider, the Claimant was awarded €20,000 for his unfair dismissal after taking into account his contribution to the dismissal.

Facts
The Claimant was employed by the Respondent as a Support Worker from 4th November 2013 until his dismissal on 18th January 2018 and was paid €2,661.83 a month. Following an incident in which the Claimant permitted a Service User to go to the toilet on their own while on an external outing, despite his knowledge that the Service User was required to have two support workers caring for him at all times on external outings. There were also two subsequent complaints that the Claimant had fallen asleep at work. The Claimant was subject to an investigation of these complaints, which resulted in a full disciplinary hearing. The Claimant was ultimately dismissed for gross misconduct. The Claimant did not appeal the decision.

Decision
The sleeping on the job allegations were not upheld and so were not taken into account by the Adjudicator. The Adjudicator noted the strict standards and obligations that are placed on care providers. He also noted that when the Claimant  spoke to his manager about the incident, she responded that he would probably end up getting a written warning. The Adjudicator determined that this illustrated that the Claimant’s action did not constitute gross misconduct warranting dismissal. The Adjudicator concluded that the dismissal was procedurally and substantively unfair however, he took into account the serious misconduct and poor lack of judgement the Claimant showed which contributed to his dismissal.

The Claimant  had to move into a different profession due to the reputational harm suffered as a result of the gross misconduct referred to in his reference. The Adjudicator awarded the Complainant €20,000 in compensation taking all of the above into account.

Link

For any queries, please contact Anne O’Connell Solicitors at info@aocsolicitor.ie or +353 1 8601353

31st January 2019

Anne O’Connell
Solicitors
Fitzwilliam Hall
Fitzwilliam Place
Dublin 2.
www.aocsolicitors.ie

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