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Labour Court Reduces Unfair Dismissal Award As Employee Failed To Produce Of Efforts To Mitigate His Financial Loss

Background: This was a joint appeal against the WRC Decision by Mr Juan Ramon Sanchez Gil (‘the Complainant’) against his former employer City Jet (‘the Respondent’) where he alleged that he was unfairly dismissed. The Adjudication Officer held that the complaint was well founded and awarded compensation of €6000.

Facts: The Complainant was employed by the Respondent as a member of Cabin Crew from 25th January 2005 until 29th January 2016. Ms Lisa Weatherstone, Peninsula Business Service (Ireland) Limited informed the Court, on behalf of the Respondent that the Respondent was subject to the High Court’s Examinership Order. She also informed the Court that the Respondent did not argue that the Complainant’s dismissal was unfair and that it made an offer to him in full and final settlement of his appeal under the Unfair Dismissals Acts. The Complainant rejected the offer and Peninsula did not engage any further in the hearing of the Labour Court case.

Decision: The Court noted that neither party disputed that the Complainant’s claim of unfair dismissal. So, it was the quantum of compensation that had to be determined by the Court. Referring to Section 7(2)(c) of the Acts, the Court noted that it must have regard to the measures adopted by the employee to mitigate his loss to determine the quantum. The Court further noted the legislation does not allow for the compensation awarded to go beyond the financial loss attributable to the dismissal. Although the Complainant provided information about the financial losses incurred by him, no details were provided to the Court to substantiate those losses and no evidence was produced to prove the Complainant’s efforts to mitigate his losses. The Court further noted that in his WRC complaint form, the Complainant stated that he was paid €1,942.33. Owing to the failure of the Complainant to provide documentary evidence to the Labour Court of his efforts to mitigate his loss, the Court awarded him compensation of €1,792.92 under the Acts, which amounted to 4 week’s pay and is what is awarded when a complainant has suffered no loss. The WRC decision amended accordingly.

Takeaway for the Employers: Although the Employee had a straightforward case of unfair dismissal, the decision of the WRC was amended and a lower compensation was awarded to the Complainant because of his failure to provide any sort of documentary evidence to show that he tried to mitigate his losses. This decision is a serious warning to the employees who take the claim of unfair dismissal. It is a useful decision for Employers to use to reduce a potential award being made against them.

Link  https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/cases/2021/january/udd215.html  

Authors – Anne O’Connell & Chaitra Girish Mallya

29th January 2021

Anne O’Connell Solicitors

19-22 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2

www.aocsolicitors.ie

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