Christmas plans lead to Limerick man's sacking

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Email:

fintan.walsh@limerickleader.ie

Christmas plans lead to Limerick man's sacking

Man was in airport when he should have been on duty at UHL

IT WAS NOT the most wonderful time of the year for a member of hospital security when he got the sack for not working the night shift over Christmas as he was in an airport traveling abroad, the Labour Court has heard.

The worker, employed by Noonan Services Group Ltd, was a security operative based in UHL from October 21, 2017 until his dismissal on January 18, 2018, during his six-month probationary period.

On September 19 last, an adjudication officer found that his dismissal was “procedurally unfair” and awarded a once-off ex-gratia payment of €500.

The worker, represented by Siptu, appealed this decision on October 19 and a Labour Court hearing was convened on February 5.

The court heard that, prior to starting his job, the worker told the company that he had made arrangements to go to his home country for Christmas, between December 27 and January 16, 2017. The appellant attended work on Christmas Eve and finished at 7am on Christmas Day.

He was rostered to attend work a 12-hour shift starting at 7pm on December 26. However, he did not attend work for that shift and “did not give advance notice” to his supervisor that he was not available for work, the court heard.

When the company’s security manager contacted the worker by telephone, he discovered that the worker “was already at the airport and waiting for his flight”.

The worker was advised to contact the security manager on his return on January 16 to arrange a performance review meeting. However, the worker did not return to Ireland until January 18, the Labour Court heard.

During a meeting on January 18, the security manager raised a number of issues with the worker, including his failure to attend his rostered shift on December 26, his failure to make contact on January 16, and “specific incidents that had occurred in the workplace” during December 2017.

The worker was dismissed immediately with payment in lieu of notice.

The worker appealed this decision but failed. 

The union submitted that the company failed to comply with the code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures in effecting his dismissal.

The union sought compensation “as is just and equitable to reflect what it alleges amounts to a lack of fair procedures by the company”.

The company said that it became “very apparent” over the three months that the worker “was unsuitable for the position”. The court said the manner in which the company dealt with the worker’s performance issues “leaves much to be desired.

“He should have been informed in writing in advance of the issues that fell to be considered at the meeting of 18 January 2018 and he should have been expressly informed that his dismissal was a possible outcome of that meeting.”

However, the court stated, the worker “did himself no favours at all”. The court determined that the worker contributed “very significantly” to his own dismissal, not recommending any compensation payable to the worker.