Cannon v Earagail Eisc Teoranta

JurisdictionIreland
CourtEmployment Appeal Tribunal (Ireland)
Judgment Date25 Sep 2006
Judgment citation (vLex)[2006] 9 JIEC 2501

Employment Appeals Tribunal

EAT: Cannon (claimant) v Earagail Eisc Teoranta

Abstract:

Employment law - Unfair Dismissal - Redundancy - Offer of alternative employment - Suitability - Compensation - Unfair Dismissals Act 1977 to 2001

EMPLOYMENT APPEALS TRIBUNAL

CASE NO.

UD666/2005,

RP305/2005

CLAIM OF:

Linda Cannon, Roxboro, Kincar, Co. Donegal

against

Earagail Eisc Teoranta, C/O PriceWaterhouse Coopers, Cornmarket, Wexford

under

REDUNDANCY PAYMENTS ACTS, 1967 TO 2003

UNFAIR DISMISSALS ACTS, 1977 TO 2001

I certify that the Tribunal

(Division of Tribunal)

Chairman:

Ms. C. Egan BL

Members:

Mr. D. Morrison

Mr. M. McGarry

heard these claims in Letterkenny on 2 March and 4 July 2006

Facts: The claimant was a member of the administrative staff of the respondent fisheries body. Redundancies were deemed necessary when the company went into financial difficulties and a consultancy report was commissioned which had selected the claimant for redundancy as she lacked accountancy skills and adequate length of service. She was offered alternative work on the floor. The claimant alleged that she had no written contract of employment.

Held by the EAT, that the offer of alternative employment was not made in writing and the offer was not a suitable one for an employee of over fifteen years service. The claimant had been unfairly dismissed and would be awarded €1,750.00 compensation.

1

The determination of the Tribunal was as follows:

Respondent's Case
2

The general manager outlined the background and circumstances to the claimant's redundancy in March 2005. The respondent was engaged in the primary fishery industry especially the pelagic (deep sea fishing) business. Up to eighty percent of the company's profits were derived from that source. Along with other companies in that industry, the respondent was by 2004 facing financial difficulties. Cutbacks were needed in the form of redundancies and pay freezes. The staff were made aware in April 2004 that there was a strong likelihood that redundancies would occur in the administrative and other sections of the company. The claimant was a member of the administrative staff.

3

A consultancy report into the company's operations was prepared and published in the autumn of 2004. It was made available to the staff and did not directly refer to specific employees. In detailing the roles and functions of the administrative section the witness justified the selection of the claimant for redundancy. He emphasised that there was no problem with her work performance as she was a good and committed worker. However he felt there was no choice but to terminate her employment by way of redundancy and added that this was not an easy decision.

4

The selection of the claimant for redundancy and the comparable position of some of her colleagues was an issue of the cross-examination. According to the witness, the selection process was fair and based on seniority and length of service of relevant staff. That criterion was subject to the needs of the respondent, as it faced an uncertain future. Redundancies were not about individuals but concentrated on reducing overheads and costs to the respondent. It emerged that a colleague of the claimant who had less service was not only retained but also promoted with a salary increase around the time of the claimant's redundancy. The general manger defended that development on the basis of that colleague's higher qualifications, expertise and greater potential to the company. He also commented that the company was too busy...

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