Employment Appeals Tribunal Award

EAT Logo Full 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

Equality Tribunal Award

Case Study James Watters & Co Solicitors recently secured a substantial Equality Tribunal award for a client in the an employment law and equality law matter. Our client worked in retail. In or about May 2010 it was alleged that a customer was racially abusive towards her. Our client was so upset by the abuse she reported it to the Gardaí. The Gardaí contacted the person who had allegedly abused our client but she denied it. Our client told the Gardaí she did not wish to pursue the matter further. The following morning our client was then called into a meeting by her employer (the ‘Respondent’); he seemed annoyed that the matter had been reported to the Gardaí. Following the meeting she was informed that she was being transferred to another location. Our client explained that this was not convenient for her as she had a small child; however she was told that this was not her employer’s concern and her presence in the shop was affecting business. On the first day in the new location she was told by her manager that a customer had complained about her and that she would be put to do more menial work. Our client decided to leave the job and managed to get alternative employment elsewhere. After two weeks in the new job her new employer asked her if she had been working in the respondents business. She told him that she had. The next day she received a text from her new employer to say there were no hours for her and he would let her go. Our client engaged James Watters & Co Solicitors to help her resolve her employment law and equality law issues. The Equality Officer made a finding against the old employer. The Equality Tribunal found that our client had been discriminated against on the basis of her race, colour, nationality or ethnic or national origins. It was also found that she was the victim of harassment and her treatment following her making the complaint amounted to victimisation. As a result of making these findings the Equality Officer made the following award: • €14,000 in compensation for the distress caused by the discrimination and constructive dismissal; • €20,000 in compensation for the distress caused by victimisation. The full decision is available at: http://www.equalitytribunal.ie/en/Cases/2013/December/DEC-E2013-193.html If you have any employment law or equality law issues call Watters Solicitors at 01-872 4717

Woman awarded €40,000 for Unfair Dismissal

A woman who was unfairly dismissed by POD Entertainment Ltd had been awarded €40,000 in the Circuit Court. The woman had been awarded €8,000 in the Employment Appeals Tribunal but was appealing the amount of the award. The woman had worked as a bar person but when she became pregnant she was initially told that she would not likely be able to work as a bar person while pregnant. She was later dismissed for gross misconduct including stealing money from the till. Following her dismissal she engaged an employment law solicitor in Dublin. The Court agreed with her that she had been unfairly dismissed and that the alleged acts of misconduct had not been properly or fairly investigated. It awarded the woman €40,000 in damages.

Registered Employment Agreements Unconstitutional

The Supreme Court has ruled that a law which allowed for registered employment agreements which sets rates of pay in certain sectors is unconstitutional. The court found that Part II of the Industrial Relations Act of 1946 unconstitutional because it delegated the power of legislators to the Labour Court. The office of the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in a statement said that it would be seeking legal advice. The statement added: “The judgment has the effect of striking down Registered Employment Agreements put in place under the 1946 Industrial Relations Act. Agreements which set pay and conditions for workers in five sectors including electrical contracting and construction are affected by today’s judgment.