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Labour Court upholds Dismissal due to Illness Absences as Fair

Labour Court upholds Dismissal due to Illness Absences as Fair

The Claimant had been employed as a porter by the Respondent hospital since 2002. His employment was terminated in October 2017 due to unacceptably high levels of absence. The decision of the WRC, that he had not been unfairly dismissed, was appealed and upheld by the Labour Court.

The Respondent argued that the Claimant had an unacceptable absenteeism record for a number of years, with his average being 20% in comparison to his colleagues who had a level of 5%. This was exacerbated by the persistent failure by the Claimant to follow correct procedure and the reporting of absences. The Claimant had been offered extensive assistance by the Respondent and had received verbal, written and finals warnings under the Respondent’s disciplinary procedures. It was argued that the processes used throughout were fair and in line with the LRC Code of Practice on Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures.

The Claimant stated that following the successful treatment for an illness, he suffered a series of medical and health issues which caused the multiple, intermittent absences from work. The Claimant made a number of arguments, namely that the decision to dismiss was disproportionate and fell outside what was reasonable, given the other options available and the length of service of the Claimant.

Ultimately, the questions before the Labour Court was whether the decision to dismiss fell within the ‘band of reasonableness’ and whether it was proportionate to the gravity of the complaint.

As to proportionality the Labour Court noted a number of factors:

In the circumstances of the case the court was satisfied the decision fell within the ‘band of reasonableness’ and concluded that the decision to dismiss was not unfair.


29th March 2019

Anne O’Connell Solicitors

Fitzwilliam Hall, Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2


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