A recent Employment Appeals Tribunal award resulted in a Claimant's compensation being set at €9,300 for unfair dismissal.
The Claimant was working in a deli area of a large Retailer. The Retailer had installed covert CCTV as they believed staff were eating food from the deli area. When the Retailer examined the footage, they found that the Claimant had been taking food during her shift and was eating it during the day.
The Claimant was called in to a meeting with the management of the Retailer. At that meeting she admitted that she had taken food and was sorry. She was brought in to a further meeting after which she was dismissed. However, the Tribunal was critical of the employer. It was of the view that the investigation and disciplinary process used by the company fell short of good practice.
The decision of the Tribunal is not however altogether clear. It was not clear whether the use of covert CCTV was an acceptable method of investigation. Neither was it clear whether the footage should have been used in evidence against the Claimant. This may be clarified at a later date.
The decision highlights the importance for employees to be aware of their rights.
From an employer's perspective, the decision highlights the importance of legally sound procedures. These are essential when dealing with termination of an employee's contract.
TIP: If you believe you have been unfairly dismissed it is advisable to act quickly. There is a time-limit of 6 months generally imposed from the date of the dismissal to take an action against your employer. This time-limit may be increased in some circumstances.
If you feel you may have suffered an unfair dismissal or if you have an employment law query contact us to arrange a consultation.
Further information on unfair dismissal in plain language may be viewed here
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