Byrne v New Ireland Assurance

CourtEmployment Appeal Tribunal (Ireland)
Judgment Date27 February 1998
Judgment citation (vLex)[1998] 2 JIEC 2701
Date27 February 1998

Employment Appeals Tribunal

Byrne v New Ireland Assurance


Dismissal — Mistake on mortgage policy form — Wrong mortgage — Investigation — Suspension — Investigation result — Disputed by claimant — Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 1993 — Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Acts 1973 to 1991.

Employment Appeals Tribunal (Ms R. O'Connell (chairman), Ms C. Carroll and Mr P. Clarke) Dublin UD453/97 MN743/97, 27 February 1998



UD453/97 MU743/97


Cathal Byrne, Coolfore, Monasterboice, Drogheda, Co Louth


New Ireland Assurance, 11/12 Dawson Street, Dublin 2. under


I certify that the Tribunal

(Division of Tribunal)


Ms. R. O'Connell


Ms. C. Carroll

Mr. P. Clarke

heard this claim at Dublin on 14th October 1997

and 8th January 1998

and 9th January 1998

and 26th January 1998

The claimant was employed as a district manager with the respondent from September 1990. In March 1997 the national sales manager handled a complaint from one of their account holders claiming that she and her husband had been given an endowment mortgage instead of an annuity type of mortgage and that they accordingly had been wrongly advised. An investigation was launched into the claim. This showed that there was an inconsistency in documentation in their file. A letter dated 12 February 1996 was found which purported to have been signed by the account holders, the import of which, was to request that their mortgage be changed from an annuity to an endowment mortgage. The account holders denied having signed this letter. The claimant had negotiated the mortgage with the account holders and the investigation results were put to him and he was requested not to make contact with the account holders. He ignored this and contacted them. The company was unhappy with the claimant's response and suspended him on full pay. As a subsequent meeting with the claimant's union representative present, the respondent had a handwriting expert's report which indicated that the letter dated 12 February 1996 had probably not been signed by the account holders. The claimant was then dismissed. The claimant stated that the account holder had been aware at all times that they had been given an endowment policy. He stressed that this type of mortgage suited their particular circumstances. He stated that the fact that an annuity mortgage had been ticked on the mortgage proposal form was simply a mistake. In regard to the meeting with the company where charges were made against him, he had no prior knowledge of the purpose of the meeting and was shocked at the outcome. The respondent conceded that the claimant had an excellent work record prior to this incident. The Tribunal found that the company had acted contrary to the rules of natural justice in procedures they adopted in dismissing the claimant and awarded him £78,551 in compensation (one year's salary, plus loss of car plus loss of pension rights). Loss having been established under the Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Acts 1973 - 1991 the Tribunal further awarded him £3,265.31.


The determination of the Tribunal was as follows:— Dismissal was not in dispute in this case.


Respondents case:


Mr. Byrne was employed by New Ireland Assurance (NIA) on 25 September 1990 as District Manager with NIA PLC.


In March of 1997 Mr. McMahon, National Sales Manager at NIA., received a telephone call from a client, Mrs. Keenan, to say that there was a problem with her mortgage, which she and her husband...

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