Gavin v The Belgard

CourtEmployment Appeal Tribunal (Ireland)
Judgment Date24 May 2007
Judgment citation (vLex)[2007] 5 JIEC 2402
Date24 May 2007

Employment Appeals Tribunal

EAT: Gavin (claimant) v The Belgard (respondent)


Employment Law - Unfair Dismissals - Company policy - Refusal to follow company policy - Investigation - Disciplinary hearing - Inadequate responses from the claimant - Unfair Dismissals Acts, 1977 to 2001.





Paul Gavin, 209 The Crescent, Millbrook Lawns, Tallaght, Dublin 24


The Belgard, Belgard Road, Clondalkin, Co. Dublin



I certify that the Tribunal

(Division of Tribunal)


Mr. J. Revington S C


Mr J. Goulding

Mr F. Barry

heard this claim at Dublin on 29th July 2005 and 16th and 17th January, 13th April, 1st August 2006

Facts The claimant was employed as a security officer with the respondent. A memo was circulated at the workplace stating that receipts must accompany all food and beverages purchased by staff on the premises. It also prohibited after hours drinking on the premises unless management gave permission. The claimant was invited to an investigation meeting due to allegations of a breach of company policy because of his drinking behaviour on the premises. The claimant stated that he paid for his drinks and that the company policy of non-authorised drinking was generally disregarded. A second investigation meeting took place and the claimant was dismissed.

Held by the EAT that the claimant was fairly dismissed as the claimant consumed alcohol on the premises after the policy change. The claim under the Unfair Dismissals Acts, 1977 to 2001 fails.


The determination of the Tribunal was as follows:

Respondent's Case

The bar manager outlined the background to the circumstances that led him to dismiss the claimant in July 2004. He referred to a memo dated 2 December 2003 sent by his predecessor to all employees. That memo stated that a receipt must accompany all food and beverages purchased by staff on the premises. It also informed the workforce that after hours drinking on the premises is not allowed unless management gave their permission. The witness was certain that the claimant was aware of that policy. Due to ongoing and unaccounted stock taking losses the respondent installed extra close circuit television cameras in various positions on the premises during March and April 2004.


The witness wrote to the claimant on 11 May inviting him to an investigation meeting later that month. There were allegations that the claimant had breached company policy in relation to his drinking behaviour on the premises. Those allegations stemmed from the evidence procured from video footage, which showed that the claimant among others was contravening company policy. The witness detailed a number of incidents in April and early May 2004 where the claimant consumed a lot of alcohol outside normal business hours on the premises. In addition the bar manager felt that a proper monetary transaction did not accompany that consumption. No receipts were shown on the video footage. The witness explained the function of a discount book in relation to staff payments for goods purchased on the premises.


On 21 May the witness together with the claimant, his representative, and the manager of the nightclub met to discuss an allegation against the claimant pertaining only to one late night/early morning drinking session. The claimant replied to those allegations by stating that he had earlier paid for the drinks in question and that the company policy of non-authorised drinking was generally disregarded. The video evidence produced at that meeting did not show any money or receipts changing hands. That meeting was adjourned to consider the issue. In a further letter to the claimant on 25 May the witness wrote that more incidents had emerged concerning the claimant that merited investigation.


The bar manager again prepared an agenda for a second investigation meeting that took place on 8 June 2004. A union official represented the claimant and the witness and nightclub manager were there on behalf of the respondent. That meeting addressed further possible breaches of the company policy on...

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