Cashel v Gerard Laboratories

JurisdictionIreland
CourtEmployment Appeal Tribunal (Ireland)
Judgment Date10 Jun 2004
Judgment citation (vLex)[2004] 6 JIEC 1001

Employment Appeals Tribunal

EAT: Cashel v Gerard Laboratories

Representation:

Claimant(s): In person

Respondent(s): Ms. Sheila Treacy, IBEC, Confederation House, 84-86 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2

Abstract:

EAT - Employment law - Unfair dismissal - Ill health - Whether respondent no option but to dismiss due to claimant's ill health - Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 2001

EMPLOYMENT APPEALS TRIBUNAL

CASE NO.

UD1319/2003

CLAIM(S) OF:

Lesley Cashel, 40 St Maurs Park, Rush, Co. Dublin

against

Gerard Laboratories, Unit 35-36, Baldoyle Industrial Estate, Baldoyle, Dublin 13

under

UNFAIR DISMISSALS AS, 1977 TO 2001

I certify that the Tribunal

(Division of Tribunal)

Chairman:

Mr. C. Guiney B.L.

Members:

Mr. R. Murphy

Mr. N. Broughall

heard this claim at Dublin on 26th April 2004

Facts The claimant stated that she informed the respondent that she had a lifelong illness and wasn't sure how long she would be absent. The claimant accepted that the respondent facilitated her by changing her to different work lines but felt that the respondent never gave her the time she really needed to recover fully.

Held by the EAT in finding that the dismissal was not unfair that the claimant was unable to remain working for the respondent due to ill-health and the respondent being unable to offer alternative work, had no option but to dismiss the claimant.

The determination of the Tribunal was as follows:-
Respondent's Case
1

The first witness for the respondent is employed as the Human Resource Manager. The witness explained that the company dealt with pharmaceuticals, which was ruled by strict health and safety guidelines and governed by the Irish Medical Board. The witness stated that the work lines in the respondent company were both automated and manual. The Packaging Department was divided into ten rooms with a team of two to five people in each. The witness stated that no employee was given a specific task to do all day; a staff member could be manually packing tablets in the morning and using machinery to pack in the afternoon. The witness stated that, as the respondent dealt with pharmaceuticals, every time a batch of tablets went through the system, all the machinery used would have to be cleaned down before the next batch came through.

2

The witness stated that the claimant was employed in the Packaging Department. The witness stated that the claimant commenced sick leave in early April 2002 and was diagnosed with her illness in May 2002. The witness stated that he never made contact with the claimant until January 2003, to see if she was returning to work and if so, to tell her she would have to visit the Occupational Health Doctor to make sure she was fit to return to work. The witness stated that he didn't put any pressure on the claimant to return to work. The witness stated that the claimant visited the doctor on January 21st 2003, who found that she was not able to resume work for at least three to six months.

3

The witness stated that in May 2003 he received a call from the claimant to see if she could return to work. The witness said he told the claimant that she would have to get a letter from her doctor or the Occupational Health Doctor to say she was fit to resume work. The witness stated that the claimant went to the Occupational Health Doctor and got a resumption letter stating that the claimant could return to work on a reduced hours basis of five half day shifts a week. The claimant returned to work on June 10th 2003.

4

The witness stated that after some weeks, the claimant found it hard being back at work and carrying out some tasks as her medical condition was affecting her ability to bend over or stand for too long. The witness stated that the claimant went back to see the Occupational Health Doctor on June 27th 2003, however he was unavailable and the claimant attended the locum doctor instead. The doctor found that the claimant had difficulty standing too long and advised by letter that the claimant be seated at work. The witness stated the claimant returned to work and was accommodated with a job that meant she...

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