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Labour Court Significantly Reduces Compensation Awarded In WRC In Two Separate Decisions Issued in February

Introduction

In the recent decisions of the Labour Court in the cases of Krissie Lundy and Dublin Tech Summit F5 Digital Media Communications Limited, UD219 and Ciara Monaghan v Conor Mc Laughlin Mc Morrow & Mc Laughlin Solicitors, UD2110 the Court reduced the award of the WRC.

Krissie Lundy and Dublin Tech Summit F5 Digital Media Communications Limited:

This is an appeal by the Respondent of the decision of the WRC in which the Complainant was awarded €16,000. The Complainant was made redundant from her employment with the Respondent as the Respondent needed to restructure its workforce due to financial difficulties. The Respondent submitted that it conducted a fair and transparent process leading to the termination of the Complainant’s employment. The Complainant submitted that she received no notice from the Respondent to terminate her employment and instead was invited to two meetings and was not advised that the intent of those meetings was to assess her skills and qualifications to discharge a role. The Respondent was also involved in this process with another employee who was ultimately kept in employment.

Based on the submissions of the parties, the Court concluded that the Respondent was entitled to restructure its business but cannot accept that the selection process could not be considered fair or transparent in the circumstances where neither employee was aware that such a process was being conducted. The Court concluded that the Complainant was unfairly dismissed. However, the Court reduced the award to €7,750 after taking into account the Complainant’s financial loss and her attempts to mitigate her loss.

Ciara Monaghan v Conor Mc Laughlin Mc Morrow & Mc Laughlin Solicitors

This is an appeal by the Respondent of the decision of the WRC in which the Complainant was awarded €13,300 in compensation. The Complainant commenced employment in the solicitors’ practice in November 2008. In November 2018 the Respondent became her new employer under a Transfer of Undertakings. Following the transfer, the Respondent made unilateral changes to her contract and failed to pay her fees on time in respect of her practice certificate. The Complainant raised a formal grievance and at the first meeting was offered a severance package with conditions attached that she could not agree to. The Complainant felt her concerns were not being addressed by the Respondent and felt that she was left with no option but to resign and handed in her notice on 26th March 2019.

The Court concluded that there were significant breaches of the employment contract that would justify the Complainant terminating her employment by way of constructive dismissal. The Court determined that the Complainant was entitled to €5,641.80 based on the calculation of the loss she incurred during gap between the Complainant’s dismissal and the commencement of her new job plus the differential between her wage at the time of dismissal and her wage in her new employment up to the date of the hearing.


Takeaway for the Employers: The decisions in these cases show a significant reduction in the award in compensation awarded by the Labour Court in comparison to the WRC. These decisions demonstrate the potential benefit in appealing a decision of the WRC to the Labour Court and the importance of having the calculation of the potential loss of the Complainant checked at the WRC stage.

Links  –   https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/cases/2021/february/udd219.html

https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/cases/2021/february/udd2110.html

Authors – Eva Lindsay and Anne O’Connell

1st March 2021

Anne O’Connell Solicitors

19-22 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2

www.aocsolicitors.ie

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