Case Number: ADJ-00000051. Workplace Relations Commission

CourtWorkplace Relations Commission
Docket NumberADJ-00000051
Date24 February 2016
PartiesAn Employee v An Employer

In accordance with Section 41(4) of the Workplace Relations Act, 2015 [and/or Section 8(1B) of the Unfair Dismissals Act, 1977, and/or Section 9 of the Protection of Employees (Employers’ Insolvency) Act, 1984, and/or Section 79 of the Employment Equality Act, 1998, and/or Section 25 of the Equal Status Act, 2000] following the referral of the complaint(s)/dispute(s) to me by the Director General, I inquired into the complaint(s)/dispute(s) and gave the parties an opportunity to be heard by me and to present to me any evidence relevant to the complaint(s)/dispute(s).

Preliminary Matters

At the outset of the hearing the details contained in the Complaint Form were confirmed by both parties. The parties agreed that the gross weekly rate of pay of the Complainant was €511.30. It was also agreed that employment commenced, inclusive of a transfer of undertakings, on 13 January 2003. The preferred redress of the Respondent was compensation. The preferred redress of the Complainant was re-instatement.

Respondent’s Submission and Presentation:

The Respondent had tendered a detailed submission in advance of the hearing and supplied supporting documentation on the day. The submission contained a short background and chronological summary of events. The Respondent read through the submission and referenced the appropriate supporting documentation.

The Respondent opened his evidence by stating that the Complainant was employed as a HGV driver with the company until his dismissal on 1st July 2015, in various company plants.

In October 2014 the Complainant was subject to disciplinary proceedings and was issued with a Final Written Warning relating to his driving. The Complainant appealed the decision to issue him with a Final Written Warning but he did not succeed in this appeal.

The Respondent went on to outline the events which lead to the dismissal. The Complainant was suspended with pay on 4th June 2015 following an incident the previous day in which there had been a spillage from his truck onto a public road. A letter was issued to the Complainant on 4th June confirming details of the suspension and potential next steps in the process. Enclosed with this letter were copies of the company's Disciplinary and Grievance policies in English and Russian.

An investigation was carried out by the HR Manager, into the matter. Written statements were obtained from the manager of the plant and a company director.

On 5th June 2015 the HR Manager wrote to the Complainant inviting him to a disciplinary hearing which was scheduled to take place on 9th June 2015.

On 9th June 2015 the Complainant attended at the scheduled time for the disciplinary hearing. He was reminded of his right to representation and given copies of the statements obtained during the investigation. The Complainant requested an adjournment as he wished to speak to his legal advisor, which had been arranged for 5.00pm that evening. An adjournment was agreed until the following day.

Om 10th June the Complainant contacted the HR Manager by phone requesting that the hearing be postponed until after the 29th June 2015. The HR Manager said she would not postpone the hearing until after the 29th June. A friend of the Complainant, then came on the line and stated that it was the legal advisor who had suggested a postponement until after 29th June. A subsequent phone call from the Complainant's friend advised they were both willing to attend the hearing scheduled for the following day.

At 11.45 on 10th June 2015 the Complainant, accompanied by his friend attended head office for the hearing. At this hearing the Complainant said that he would not make any...

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