Nicholson v Royal Liver Assurance

CourtEmployment Appeal Tribunal (Ireland)
Judgment Date23 May 2007
Judgment citation (vLex)[2007] 5 JIEC 2302
Date23 May 2007

Employment Appeals Tribunal

EAT: Nicholson (claimant) v Royal Liver Assurance (respondent)


Employment Law - Unfair Dismissals - Use of work machinery and discrepancies - Verbal warning and disciplinary hearing - Suspension without pay initially - Whether full and fair procedures were used in the process - Unfair Dismissals Acts, 1977 to 2001.





William Nicholson, 37 Westbrook Park, Hillcrest, Lucan, Dublin


Royal Liver Assurance, Westland Park, Willow Road, Dublin 12



I certify that the Tribunal

(Division of Tribunal)


Mr. P. O'Leary B L


Mr P. Pierce Ms M. Maher

heard this claim at Dublin on 9th February 2007 and 12th April 2007

Facts The claimant was employed as a home service agent with the respondent. His responsibilities included calling in on policyholders and retrieving monies. Issues arose when the company introduced electronic round books to ease computerisation, administration and progress in general which also calculated arrears and reduced the workload. Discrepancies occurred with the electronic round books and when the claimant's books were audited twenty eight weeks had discrepancies. The claimant was dismissed after a disciplinary hearing and formal verbal warning.

Held by the EAT that the claimant was unfairly dismissed as there were no reasonable procedures in place. An amount of Eur40,000 was awarded under the Unfair Dismissals Acts, 1977 to 2001.


The determination of the Tribunal was as follows:


The Respondent in this case is an Insurance company.


The Tribunal heard evidence from a witness of the Respondent. He worked for the Respondent for twenty-four years. He was a district inspector and then a sales manager. At a later time he was responsible for managing the Home Service Representatives or Home Service Agent (HSR's). The role of a HSR was to call in person to the policyholders. The HSR's core duty was to collect monies from the policyholders. The HSR's then input the amount of cash that they collect from each policyholder into a premium receipt book (PRB), which the policyholder kept. They then enter it into their own collecting book a “round book”. Both books should tally. The cash that the HSR has “in their pocket” should tally with the round book. The cash is later put into a bank. The witness outlined the definition of the HSR in the contract that was opened to the Tribunal.


After 2002 the company introduced electronic round books (ERB's) into the system. This was because of computerisation, administration and progress in general. It calculated arrears for the HSR and therefore reduced the workload for them.


The witness explained that if a HSR omitted to enter the monies taken from a policyholder into the ERB then “he would have excess money in his pocket, excepting if he was using a float in the beginning”. The HSR would be aware that the excess money was a policyholders money and would have to try and “think back” to ascertain which policyholder and if he could not he...

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