Finnegan v Toner Brothers

CourtEmployment Appeal Tribunal (Ireland)
Judgment Date28 January 2004
Judgment citation (vLex)[2004] 1 JIEC 2801
Date28 January 2004

Employment Appeals Tribunal

EAT: Finnegan v Toner Brothers



Mr Conor MacGuill, MacGuill & Company, Solicitors,

5 Seatown, Dundalk, Co. Louth


Brian Johnston, Solicitors, 2 Roden Court, Roden Place,

Dundalk, Co. Louth


EAT - Employment law - Unfair dismissal - Whether employee left employment voluntarily - Whether employee unfairly dismissed - Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 2001





Kenneth Finnegan, Rampark, Jenkinstown, Dundalk,

Co. Louth


Eamon and Patio Toner, t/a Toner Brothers,

Point Road, Bellurgan, Dundalk, Co Louth



I certify that the Tribunal

(Division of Tribunal)


Ms. A. Bunni BL


Mr. D. Winston

Mr. S. Galavan

heard this claim at Drogheda on 10th October 2003

and 8th December2003

Facts The claimant was driving one of the respondent's tractors when he was involved in an accident. The claimant asked his employer whether he was sacked and his employer told him to go home. He was unsure whether he had been dismissed and claimed that he thought that he had been. The claimant denied that he had left his employment voluntarily.

Held by the Tribunal in awarding the claimant the sum of €7,040 under the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 2001 that having considered the evidence the Tribunal considered that the claimant had been unfairly dismissed.

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

In his sworn evidence to the Tribunal, the claimant said that he left school at 16 or 17 years of age. He did some casual work for the respondent during the summer holidays. The claimant told the Tribunal that he commenced full-lime employment with the respondent on 15th May 2001. His work consisted mainly of drawing silage; barley and driving a tractor. The claimant said that there had been no difficulties between him and the respondent until an accident that occurred on 16th August 2002.


The claimant told the Tribunal that on l6th August 2002, just after lunch, he was driving one of the respondent's tractors along a road, when a car came around the corner. The tipper unit of the tractor hit off the ditch, resulting in the claimant falling from the cab. The claimant said that after falling, he stood up and phoned one of the partners in the respondent business, to explain what had happened. He told the Tribunal that the partner shouted down the phone at him, said that he was a liability and told him to go home.


The Tribunal heard that the claimant decided to remain at the scene, and that the partner arrived later and started shouting. The claimant said that he asked the partner if he was sacked, and that the partner replied "yes go home" and said again that the claimant was a liability. The claimant told the Tribunal that he had been hurt in the accident but that the respondent had been in no way sympathetic. He said that be had had some doubt as to whether he had been dismissed, and called to the respondent's premises the following day to see if that was the case. When he called he met with a brother of the partner, who, the claimant said grunted at him and walked away. The claimant said that at that point he returned to his car. He told the Tribunal that he received a message later on that his wages were available for collection. The claimant also said that since 17th August 2002, he received no further wages or P.45 from the respondent.


In his evidence to the Tribunal...

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