House of the Oireachtas Service v Frank Hanlon

 
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Labour Court (Ireland)

FULL RECOMMENDATION

FTC/17/1

DETERMINATION NO.FTD182

r-159313-ft-15/JT

PARTIES:
House of the Oireachtas Service
and
Frank Hanlon
SUBJECT:
1

1. An appeal of an Adjudication Officer's Decision no. r-159313-ft-15/JT.

BACKGROUND:
2

2. The Worker referred his case to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 15(1) of the Protection of Employees (Fixed-Term Work Act), 2003. Three Labour Court hearings took place on 17 April 2017, 31 October 2017 and 11 December 2017. The following is the Court's Determination:

DETERMINATION:
3

This is an appeal by Mr Frank Hanlon against a Decision of the Adjudication Officer under section 41 of the Workplace Relations Act 2015 in which he decided that the complaint he made that the House of the Oireachtas Service had infringed his entitlements under section 6 of the Protection of Employees (Fixed Term Work) Act 2003 was not well founded.

4

The Adjudication Officer issued his Decision on 13 January 2017. The Complainant appealed against that Decision on 22 February 2017. The case came on for hearing before the Court on 17 April 2017, 31 October 2017 and 11 December 2017.

5

The Court on 31 October 2017 identified two preliminary points on which it sought submissions from both sides. Those submissions were received on 21 November 2017 from Mr Hanlon and on 5 December 2017 from the Respondent.

6

The hearing reconvened on 11 December 2017 to hear the parties on the issues set out in the notice of appeal.

Background
7

The Complainant worked for the respondent as a Clerical Officer on a fixed term contract of employment. The Respondent dismissed the Complainant on 6 March 2015. The dismissal was notified to the Complainant by email of that date which was sent to his personal email address. It states:-

“Dear Frank

Unfortunately, I have to advise you that following your probationary report, which it received from your manager, the decision has been made to terminate your service as a Temporary Clerical Officer in the Oireachtas service. Any outstanding payments including annual leave will be paid shortly. If you have any questions regarding these payments contact our salaries division.

A copy of your termination letter which issued to your home address is attached.

Regards

Ben”

8

The Complainant submits that this amounted to notice of intention to terminate his employment and not termination in itself. He submits that the letter sent in the normal course of post to his home address was the actual notice of dismissal. He submits that he did not receive that letter until the 8 March 2015 and was therefore not notified of his dismissal until that date.

9

In the alternative, he submits that he could not open the attachment to the email he received on 6 March 2015. He submits that he did not do so until Sunday 7 March 2015 at which point he became aware of the decision to dismiss him with immediate effect. He submits that he accordingly was not on notice of his dismissal until that date.

10

In the alternative, he submits that he filed an appeal against that decision to dismiss him the outcome of which was notified to him on 16 April 2015. He submits that his dismissal did not become final until that date.

11

He lodged a Complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission on 6 September 2015. He submits that the Complaint was therefore filed under the Act within the statutory six-months of the date of the alleged contravention or the date of the termination of the contract of employment, whichever is the earlier, in accordance with s 14(3) of the ...

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