Monica Redmond v Fountain Resource Group

JurisdictionIreland
CourtEmployment Appeal Tribunal (Ireland)
Judgment Date17 May 2007
Judgment citation (vLex)[2007] 5 JIEC 1704

Employment Appeals Tribunal

EAT: Monica Redmond v Fountain Resource Group

Representation:

Claimant:

In person

Respondent:

Ms. Ann Brennan, O'Mara Geraghty McCourt, Solicitors, 51 Northumberland Road, Dublin 4

Abstract:

Employment - Termination of employment - Unfair dismissal - Constructive dismissal - Whether claimant constructively dismissed - Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 2001

EMPLOYMENT APPEALS TRIBUNAL

CLAIM OF:

CASE NO.

Monica Redmond, 24 McDowell Avenue, Mount Brown, Dublin 8

UD864/2006

Against

Fountain Resource Group, Presbytery, James Street, Dublin 8 under

UNFAIR DISMISSALS ACTS, 1977 TO 2001

I certify that the Tribunal

(Division of Tribunal)

Chairman:

Mr D. Mahon, B.L.

Members:

Mr R. Murphy

Mr F. Barry

heard this claim at Dublin on 1st March 2007 and 17th May 2007

Facts the claimant had from her position following a series of disputes with her immediate supervisor. She claimed that she had been constructively dismissed as her complaints to management regarding the relationship with her supervisor were not adequately dealt with.

Held in awarding the claimant three weeks gross pay of €702 under the Unfair Dismissals Acts, that the claimant had been constructively dismissed.

1

The determination of the Tribunal was as follows:

Background
2

The claimant was employed in a community crèche under the umbrella of a not for profit organisation part funded by the Drugs Task Force. She had been working there since 1997 as a childcare worker and since May 2005 as acting manager. There had been no problem with her employment until early 2006, when the crèche relocated to a new building, refurbished with funding from Dublin City Council.

3

The claimant was unclear as to who her line manager was. In evidence, the building co-ordinator said he was the claimant's manager, and had been for some time prior to the relocation. However, by his own evidence, the building coordinator had always left the claimant to ‘get on with it' and only visited the crèche informally about three times a week to see how things were going. He was located in another building and was also responsible for other activities of the organisation. After the relocation he visited the crèche more often to sort out teething problems. The claimant believed that he had unnecessarily criticised and undermined her from this point. The chairperson and treasurer of the crèche gave evidence that she dealt with the claimant on a daily basis on childcare issues and that the claimant often applied directly to her for leave and that the building coordinator was often not involved. Both building coordinator and chairperson/treasurer said in evidence that their relationships with the claimant had been cordial, but that they would characterise her as a fiery individual who was quick to see implied criticism. They would both have been careful of their words in their dealings with her.

Claimant's case
4

After the relocation of the crèche, a number of incidents arose which led to the breakdown of the relationship and the claimant's resignation and claim of constructive dismissal. On the 21st February the crèche moved into the new building. The claimant gave evidence that she had only worked with the building coordinator after the move to the new building. On the 28th February a meeting was held between the claimant, the building coordinator and the chairperson of the crèche and the chairperson of the organisation The claimant hadn't received an agenda and believed the meeting was to be about whether or not the next child on the waiting list should be admitted into the crèche or not. With the move into the new building seven new places for children had become available. The crèche operated a waiting list and up to this point the system had been that, if a place became available, the claimant and the crèche chairperson would discuss this and agree between them what child would be offered the place. The claimant would then offer the place to the child through his/her parent. Sometime in January the claimant and chairperson had discussed the next child on the list. They had agreed that this child should be offered a place and the claimant had then telephoned the child's mother and informed her of this. The child's mother was a neighbour of the claimant. It was a small community crèche and the claimant was personally known to many parents in the area. The claimant had found out that, due to a change in rules about admissions, the child was no longer eligible for a place. She did not agree with this decision. She had not known of any change in the rules around offering places to children and was angry that she was now put in the position of having to telephone the child's mother to rescind the offer. She felt the mother in question was being singled out and stated in evidence that, subsequent to this, several children were admitted into the crèche whose parents were neither employed nor in education/training. The meeting ended when the claimant walked out, resigning from her position as manager (but not as childcare worker). From this point on the claimant felt she was subjected to bullying and verbal abuse from the building co-ordinator.

5

She was called into the building co-ordinator's office three or four times and told that she wasn't doing the job right. He told her that if she wasn't happy with her job, he had three or four people who could do it. One evening, the building co-ordinator telephoned the claimant at home and asked her if she was ‘the f….g eejit who left the floor soaking wet?' The following day the claimant discovered that there was a leak in the ceiling. The building co-ordinator refused to apologise to her, telling her to ‘f..k off. In June the claimant was sitting eating her lunch in the canteen when the building co-ordinator entered with a security man. In a passing comment, he told the claimant it was no wonder she was...

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