Rooney v Iron Mountain Ireland Ltd

CourtEmployment Appeal Tribunal (Ireland)
Judgment Date03 May 2005
Judgment citation (vLex)[2005] 5 JIEC 0301
Date03 May 2005

Employment Appeals Tribunal

EAT: Rooney v Iron Mountain Ireland Ltd.


EAT - Employment law - Unfair dismissal - Summary dismissal - Gross misconduct - Whether severe warning would have been adequate - Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 2001




Patrick Rooney, 17c Emmet Buildings, Watling Street, Dublin 8



Iron Mountain Ireland Limited, 13/17 Newmarket Square,

Dublin 8

Beverly Records Management, 13/17 Newmarket Square,

Dublin 8

Iron Mountain Ireland Limited, 4 Burlington Road,

Dublin 4



I certify that the Tribunal

(Division of Tribunal)


Ms P. McGrath


Mr. M. Flood

Mr G. Lamon

heard this claim at Dublin on 29th November 2004

and I7thFebruary2005

Facts The claimant drove a forklift owned by the respondent up a public side street. The respondent contended that this behaviour amounted to gross misconduct as the claimant knew that the driving of the forklift on a public lane was contrary to the company instruction and not covered by the policy of insurance. The claimant claimed that he was not aware that there were any such restrictions. The claimant was summarily dismissed for misconduct.

Held by the EAT in awarding the claimant Eur5,780 that the claimant was unfairly dismissed. The reaction of the employer was extreme. A severe warning would have been adequate in the circumstances. However, the claimant contributed to the situation.


The determination of the Tribunal was as follows:

Respondent's case:

The regional operations manager in his evidence told the Tribunal that the respondent acquired the business in 2000/01 and changed the name of the business to its current title. This witness is responsible for the day to day operations of the business which provides a storage facility for business records including those of banks, solicitors and medical institutions. The business which is located in the Dublin 8 area has two buildings which comprises a warehouse and administration offices. The claimant was employed as warehouse supervisor and was trained to drive a forklift. This training was undertaken at the request and expense of the respondent Mother employee was also trained to drive the forklift. The claimant was made fully aware of the respondent's health and safety rules and these were further re-iterated at the monthly health and safety meeting on 12th February, 2004. The use of the forklift was also discussed. The forklift was to be used to lift boxes from the ground to the upper floor and it was not to go outside the building. A public roadway ran between the two buildings and the claimant was told that the forklift was not suited for driving on the public roadway as it was not roadworthy, neither he nor the vehicle was licensed and since it was not taxed it would not be covered by the respondent's insurance. The claimant understood and agreed to this condition.


On 4th March, 2004 as witness was parking his car outside the premises at Dublin 8 he noticed the claimant driving the forklift up the street and turning right towards the main building. Witness was taken aback and he sought the advise of the human resources manager. By way of letter dated 4th March, 2004 the claimant was invited to a disciplinary hearing which took place on 8th March. At this meeting the claimant said that he was under pressure and in order to save time he used the forklift in the best interest of the company. He also said that in the past he had ignored health and safety policies to facilitate the company however he accepted that driving the forklift on a public road un-licensed was the wrong thing to do and he also accepted that he was not insured to drive the vehicle on the road. The witness' concern was if anything had happened to the claimant, a pedestrian or a motorist. Neither the claimant or the company were insured and the company would be liable. The claimant did not have a driving licence, he had breached the health and safety policy, he would not be covered by insurance and while aware of these facts he went ahead and drove the vehicle...

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