A CAR rental agent at Shannon Airport, accused by his employers of being repeatedly late for work, has been awarded â‚¬14,000 for unfair dismissal at the Employment Appeals Tribunal.
The tribunal found Irish Car Rentals had not followed their own disciplinary procedures in firing Michael Oâ€™Regan, of Glencairn, Dooradoyle.
Mr Oâ€™Regan said he felt very strongly about the companyâ€™s allegations about his timekeeping and that his work as a DJ at night caused him to be late. This work had never affected his job, he said.
Mr Oâ€™Regan believed his employers â€œhad a problemâ€ with him because he was not selling enough extras - such as insurance. He had been told to â€œpump up salesâ€ and â€œto leave his conscience at the door on the way in and pick it up on the way outâ€.
The car rental firmâ€™s operations manager submitted documents that in the first six months of 2009, Mr Oâ€™Regan was recorded as being late 39 times and had nine unauthorised absences. This manager said Mr Oâ€™Reganâ€™s general demeanour was poor and he failed to fill out forms correctly.
An incident was mentioned in which the desk at Shannon had been left unattended for two hours with nine customers waiting irately to be served. Mr Oâ€™Regan said in relation to this incident that he had to leave to fill a prescription shortly after this flightâ€™s arrival time and had tried to notify his manager by phone to no avail.
Evidence was heard that Mr Oâ€™Regan was called into a meeting with bosses in November 2008 and was told he would have to improve his performance or the company would have to â€œgo down another routeâ€. A final written warning - which was not appealed by Mr Oâ€™Regan - was issued in January 2009. Mr Oâ€™Regan met his manager at the smoking area outside the terminal building on June 10. He told the tribunal he was dismissed and given four weeks notice.
Irish Car Rentals said Mr Oâ€™Reganâ€™s absence from the desk and recurrent timekeeping issues amounted to â€œgross misconductâ€ that warranted dismissal.
The tribunal found the company had failed to follow its own procedures in not giving Mr Oâ€™Regan prior notice of disciplinary meetings and not offering him the right to bring a representative or colleague.