O'Neill v O'Brien [EAT]
EMPLOYMENT APPEALS TRIBUNAL
CASE NO. UD1124/2010
Claimant: Buckley & Company, Solicitors, 14 St Loman's Terrace, Mullingar, Co Westmeath
Respondent: Mr. Michael O'Sullivan, HR Advisor, Arra Hrd Limited, Castlelost West, Rochfortbridge, Co Westmeath
The respondent company operates a veterinary practice as a sole trader.
It is run by two business partners. It was the respondent's case that the claimant had been fairly selected for redundancy.
EF one of the business partners in his evidence stated that the business operated with both partners, 2 assistants, 2 nurses, 2 receptionists a pro-active manager and a testing clerk.
Due to the economic climate things got tight and the nurses and receptionists were put on a 3 day week. One receptionist went on maternity leave and did not return to work. Work resumed to a 5 day working week with the loss of the receptionist. The business hours were until 7pm every evening and it was difficult to keep the role of receptionist going, as she could no longer be able to aid with procedures because of new legislation. Her hours of work would be well in excess of 40 per week.
From a business point of view it made sense to recruit another nurse and allow the nurses to expand their duties and take on the reception role, they could give advice and hours could become interchangeable.
Under cross examination EF stated that it was a difficult decision but when the options were weighed up it was the only way the business could work. It was a business decision that had worked well. A nurse answering the phone could make a call that the receptionist could not.
The claimant had not been informed or consulted in advance and had not been asked for her suggestions. When the claimant received her notice she was upset but said that she understood the position. Nobody was aware or involved in the decision to make the post of receptionist redundant except himself and his business partner.
The claimant BN in her evidence began working for the practice in June 2007 and did not have a written contract...
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