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Healthcare assistant dismissed for sleeping on the job during a night shift was awarded €10,000

Workplace Relations Commission Reference: ADJ-00006660 Care Worker v Social Services

The Complainant was assigned to work a night shift for a healthcare unit caring for residents who suffered with either intellectual disabilities, mental health problems and/or physical health problems. She was found, by her line manager, sleeping in darkness of the sitting room associated with the unit. During the disciplinary investigation, it was established that her line manager was aware for some time that the Complainant took naps during the night shifts but never raised the issue with the Complainant until she was caught. The line manager was never questioned during the investigation process about why he never raised the issue prior to the incident in question. At the hearing, the line manager confirmed that he requested two employees to provide statements regarding the investigation and he informed them that these would be anonymous.

The Complainant relied on the decision in Lyons v Longford Westmeath Education and Training Board in relation to cross-examination of witnesses to establish her right. Furthermore, it was established that the Respondent had not considered an alternative sanction to dismissal.

The Court found the sanction was disproportionate to the conduct as the line manager had prior knowledge and yet waited to act. Although, the Court did note that the Complainant contributed to her dismissal and considering all the circumstances the Court awarded her €10,000.


For any queries, please contact Anne O’Connell Solicitors at info@aocsolicitor.ie or +353 1 2903580
5th February 2018

Anne O’Connell
1-3 Burton Hall Road
Dublin 18

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