Villarta v Belmont Care Ltd

JurisdictionIreland
CourtEmployment Appeal Tribunal (Ireland)
Judgment Date03 Mar 2004
Judgment citation (vLex)[2004] 3 JIEC 0303

Employment Appeals Tribunal

EAT: Villarta v Belmont Care Ltd.

Representation

Claimant(s):

Mr. Martin Crotty BL instructed by Mr. Pat O'Donoghue, The Migrant

Rights. Centre Ireland, 3 Beresford Place, Dublin 1

Respondent(s):

Ms. Albert Connaughton Belmont Care Limited, T/A Belmont House, Galloping Green, Stillorgan Road, Co. Dublin

Abstract:

EAT - Employment law - Unfair dismissal - Fair procedures - Whether grounds justifying dismissal - Whether claimant afforded fair procedures - Whether disciplinary meeting properly conducted - Whether claimant contributed to dismissal - Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 2001, ss. 6(7) and 7(2)(b) - Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Acts 1973 to 2001, s.8

EMPLOYMENT APPEALS TRIBUNAL

CASE NO.

UD704/2003

MN1857/2003

CLAIM(S) OF:

Gerondia Villarta, C/O Migrants Rights Centre, 3

Beresford Place, Dublin 1

Belmont Care Limited, T/A Belmont House Galloping Green, Stillorgan

Road, Co. Dublin

Registered Office: Belmont Care Limited T/A Belmont House, 74 Northumberland

Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4

under

MINIMUM NOTICE AND TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT ACTS, 1973 TO 2001

UNFAIR DISMISSALS ACTS, 1977 TO 2001

I certify that the Tribunal

(Division of Tribunal)

Chairman:

Mr D. Hayes

Members:

Mr. J. Reid

Mr G. Lamon

heard this claim at Dublin on 10th February 2004

Facts The claimant worked in a nursing home before she was summarily dismissed. The respondent had on two occasions spoken to the claimant in respect of allegations of theft but neither allegation had been proven. In Autumn things started to go missing and a witness told the respondent that in the past she had seen the claimant taking money from a purse. The claimant was called to the respondent's office and after a meeting dismissed.

Held by the Tribunal in finding that the dismissal was unfair and awarding the claimant €750 that there were substantial grounds justifying the claimant's dismissal but the respondent did not afford fair procedures to the claimant. The respondent did not inform the claimant of the disciplinary nature of the meeting to which she was summoned and did not invite her to seek representation until after the meeting. At the meeting the claimant was only given scant information in respect of the allegation. However, the conduct of the claimant contributed to her dismissal.

Respondent's Case
1

The owner of the respondent company told the Tribunal that he spoke to the claimant regarding allegations of theft in house. On each occasion the allegations were never proven and no further action was taken. A resident Miss R made a complaint that £20 was taken from her. Residents were advised not to keep large sums of money in their possession. On one occasion another resident made an allegation to the owner that the claimant had taken a bottle of perfume/lotion from her room. The claimant denied this and no further action was taken. A staff member Miss C relayed to him in November 2002 that she saw the claimant taking money from a resident's purse. He impressed upon the witness the importance of reporting this incident

2

On the 4th December 2002 he called the claimant to his office. Previous allegations of theft were put to the claimant and he informed the claimant that a witness Miss C to one of the allegations had come forward. On hearing this...

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