Case Number: ADJ-00013284. Workplace Relations Commission

Docket NumberADJ-00013284
Hearing Date16 May 2018
Date06 July 2018
CourtWorkplace Relations Commission
PartiesAdministrator v Employer


Adjudication Reference: ADJ-00013284




Anonymised Parties





Complaint/Dispute Reference No.

Date of Receipt

Complaint seeking adjudication by the Workplace Relations Commission under Section 8 of the Unfair Dismissals Act, 1977



Date of Adjudication Hearing: 16/05/2018

Workplace Relations Commission Adjudication Officer: Michael Ramsey


In accordance with Section 8 of the Unfair Dismissals Acts, 1977 - 2015following the referral of the complaint to me by the Director General, I inquired into the complaint and gave the parties an opportunity to be heard by me and to present to me any evidence relevant to the complaint.


The Complainant seeks adjudication by the WRC under Section 8 of the Unfair Dismissals Act, 1977 and in particular the Complainant claims they had to leave the job due to the conduct of the employer and others within the workplace.

Summary of Complainant’s Case:

The Complainant was employed as an Administrator from the 16th March 2015 with the Respondent Company and was paid €25,0000.00 (gross) per annum from July 2016 onwards and worked approximately 35 hours per week. The Complainant was on a job bridge with the Respondent Company six months prior.

In the circumstances of this matter, the Complainant submitted that the Managing Director (hereinafter referred to as the MD) told her on or about the 21st August 2017 that her current employment was effectively gone and the only options were redundancy, reduced hours or upskill and maintain website. The Complainant submitted that she was prepared to upskill and maintain the website, however, prior to taking up annual leave, the Complainant was informed that upon return to work her hours will be reduced to two and a half days. Upon the Complainants return to work on or about the 13th September 2017, a full time employee had been recruited and had taken over a number of the Complainants responsibilities. At this juncture, the Complainant found the atmosphere in the work place very tense and stressful.

The Complainant sent an email dated the 27th September 2017 to the MD indicating her concern in relation to the reduction of her working hours and other issues. Ultimately, the Complainant believed she was being bullied out of her position and concluded that she was effectively being constructively dismissed. The MD acknowledged receipt of this communication and offered to have a formal grievance meeting to discuss the matters of concern.

Following said meeting, the Complainant was informed latterly by a colleague that her hours were being reduced and emailed the MD on the 18th October 2017 that she did not agree to a further reduction of her working hours and concluded that this was all leading to her constructive dismissal.

Correspondence, in the form of emails, ensued between the Complainant and the MD until the 20th November 2017 when the Complainant indicated that she was resigning from the Respondent Company as she was very unhappy with the imposed changes on her terms and conditions and had been left with no alternative. The MD responded on the 22nd November 2017 that he would like to discuss the situation before accepting the Complainants notice and following discussion of same the Complainant indicated, on the 24th November 207, that she would remain in her current employment and the MD acknowledged same on the 12th December 2017 and also noted the Complainants ongoing concerns.

There follows correspondence, in the form of emails, between the parties in relation to a number of matters but in particular to payment for bank holidays. Following ongoing stressors, as alleged, the Complainant attended her general practitioner and took sick leave from the 7th January 2018 for two weeks due to severe hypertension which had been exacerbated by stress in work. On the 12th January 2018, the MD proposed an informal welfare meeting to establish the nature and extent of her ongoing illness. The MD further proposed that, although the Respondent Company does not operate a sick pay policy, a discretionary payment would be made based on the nature and circumstance of the medical certificate provided.

On the 21st January 2018 and following a further attendance with her General Practitioner the Complainant offered her resignation having had time to consider her position and her ongoing health issues. The MD proposed on the 23rd January that the Complainant defer her decision to resign until they have their, as previously suggested, welfare meeting. Ultimately, the Complainant decided not to avail of such a meeting and requested the Respondent Company to accept her resignations as of the 21st January 2018.

The Complainant submitted that following the aforementioned difficulties she encountered and the toxic atmosphere in the workplace she believed she had no alternative but to resign her position with the Respondent Company.

The Complainant took up employment as an administrator with a freight company on the 22nd January 2018.

Summary of Respondent’s Case:

The Respondent Company sells and distributes medical equipment in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

It was submitted that the Respondent Company experienced a significant loss of business in or around 2017 and that was the reason for introducing short time working hours. The Respondent Company indicated that it was necessary to try and drive the business using web based business and that was the rationale for hiring an individual who had good experience in managing websites and developing them. Along with this new employee the Respondent Company’s workforce consisted of the MD, the Complainant and one other individual.

In relation to the specific allegations made by the Complainant, the Respondent Company did not believe there was a toxic atmosphere in the workplace but accepted there could be tensions and difficulties within such a close working environment.

The Respondent Company accepted the Complainant did not have a contract of employment and further accepted there was no employee handbook or policies in relation to grievance procedures and the various attempts made to resolve the ongoing matters of concern to the Complainant were on an...

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