Sunday, 13th October 2019

Unfair Dismissal

Average Award in Unfair Dismissal Cases on the Rise

According to the Employment Appeals Tribunal Annual Report 2011 the number of cases annually referred to the Tribunal increased three fold during the Irish economic recession (to a high of 9,458 cases in 2009).

The average number of annual referrals before the recession had plateaued at approximately 3,500.

Statistics for Unfair Dismissals cases:

The average compensation awarded by the Tribunal in Unfair Dismissal cases has risen dramatically in recent years.

For the year ended 31st December 2009 the average compensation in Unfair Dismissals cases was €11,476. In 2010 it was €16,064.05 and in 2011 it was €18,047.85.

This is a trend that employers really need to pay attention to as large sums of money like this can seriously damage a company.

It is crucial to stay up-to-date with employment legislation and to follow appropriate procedures when dealing with employee matters.

 

Employment Appeals Tribunal, EAT, Compensation

 

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How to avoid an unfair dismissal claim when making someone redundant

Redundancy is a minefield if you take chances. You must remember that employees now know their rights better than ever before. They have lived through a time when friends, family and work colleagues have been laid off - there is also a lot of information readily available for them online.

Redundancy, Avoiding Unfair Dismissal

Employees have picked up a great deal of information about their rights. We say to Employers "your employees know their rights - do you?" Some businesses are now facing into a second phase of redundancies. In that instance, you can be guaranteed that staff know their entitlements even better than they did for the first phase. If you don't follow process, or if you make a false move, it could cost you - you could quite easily end up in the Labour Courts with an Unfair Dismissal case on your hands.

Unfair Dismissal cases are very common these days and they are very difficult for employers to win as the onus is on the employer to prove that he or she made the correct choices when letting someone go. Proving that a redundancy, for instance, was necessary is essential - making the position, not the person, redundant is crucial - an employer cannot make an employee redundant and then hire a new staff member to carry out the same tasks the following week. Commissioners will scrutinize every detail and decision and will want to see that the employer has dotted every "I" and crossed every "T".

Employers have a 50/50 chance of leaving Labour Court hearings with a large figure to pay out - it is important to remember that a huge number of cases are also settled prior to court proceedings so the odds are heavily stacked against the employer coming away from the Court with no fine on their hands.

Unfair Dismissal, Labour Court, Redundancy

Without a doubt redundancies can be required to keep a business viable. Employers need to ensure that they make their decisions based on what's best for the business - not because they want to get rid of Danny the storeman who you feel hasn't done a tap for years. Before making people redundant, look at the business overall and see what areas are suffering a downturn, what areas are picking up, and how best you should react to changed circumstances.

A Selection Matrix will help to clarify your thoughts and take the personalities out of the decision - and also ensure that no-one can accuse you of using redundancy simply to remove people you don't like from your company. As a business owner or manager, you are entitled to make decisions that make business sense. So establish the logic of any decision before you make it.

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Asking to be fired – Why an employer must not adhere to this request

An employee recently requested that his employer dismiss him. When asked why he wanted to be let go the employee explained that he wished to spend more time at home helping his sick wife with the children and assisting with the domestic duties. The employer was considering doing as the employee asked as he felt that the motives behind the request were practical.

Asking to be fired, unfair dismissal

The employer, however, took a few moments to think about the request. He concluded that the employee had been a diligent worker and so was reluctant to see the employee leave his role. In the hopes that it might encourage the employee to consider changing his mind the employer decided to offer the employee a small pay rise and to be more flexible with him in terms of his working hours. After the employer made the offer the employee became frustrated and again asked the employer to fire him.

The employer was confused as to why the employee was so adamant that he wanted to be fired as he had always seemed quite satisfied in his role. The employer also wondered why the employee didn’t simply resign if he wanted to go so badly. The employer decided to seek some advice on the situation prior to making his final decision. After some research the employer realised that this request was a common one and that motives behind this type of request were typically financially-based ones.

 

Asking to be fired, Unfair Dismissal, EAT

If an employee leaves employment voluntarily and without a reasonable cause then he or she may be disqualified from getting Jobseeker's Benefit for 9 weeks, however, if the employee is dismissed from employment then he would be entitled to claim benefits earlier.

Social Welfare Fraud is a serious offense.

The employee became extremely angry when the employer refused to dismiss him. Had the employer satisfied the request and fired the employee the individual could have lodged a case for unfair dismissal. The employer was fortunate that he sought advice after receiving the request from the employee. Due to the fact that the employee had not done anything to warrant his dismissal it is likely that a claim would have succeeded in an Employment Appeals Tribunal scenario – Unfair Dismissal can lead to an award of up to 2 years’ salary.

Employers receiving requests along these lines should seek advice from Irish Employment Legislation specialists prior to taking any action.

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Former Employee Awarded €58k for Unfair Dismissal

Unfair Dismissal, Unfairly Dismissed

 

On the basis of a decline in sales within an exhaust business the Finance Director decided that a redundancy was required. There were 4 employees who generated sales for the company. The Finance Director believed the company only required 3 people to perform the sales roles.

The 4 individuals were informed that their positions were at risk and they were given a copy of the selection matrix that was used to determine who would be made redundant. The 4 employees all agreed that the matrix (after a slight amendment suggested by one of the employees concerned) was a fair and equitable way of assessing them. The sales director scored the matrices. The employee who scored the lowest was informed that he was to be made redundant.

The employee who was made redundant contended that the selection process had not been fairly operated. The Finance Director had not raised the issue of the exhaust centre’s declining profitability with him before deciding to make someone redundant. He was not told his sales were down.

The employee who was made redundant was at a disadvantage because the 3 other employees had a closer affinity with one another than with him and therefore he scored lower on team work.

While the employee who was made redundant did not object to the selection matrix – he did, however, feel as though it had not been scored fairly. His extensive product knowledge was not taken into account. Also not taken into account was his City & Guilds qualification.

 

Unfairly dismissed, unfair dismissal, fired

After his redundancy the employee learned that the company had a new operation in Cork. A former employee was recruited to manage the new operation. The claimant was not told about the new operation or asked to apply for any of the jobs there.

The claimant established loss for the Tribunal.

The Tribunal carefully considered all evidence in the case. It was clear that management did not speak to the employee when they determined that his position was not profitable.

When it came to the process of selecting an employee for redundancy, the method chosen put the employee at a distinct disadvantage.

The Tribunal found that the selection process was unfair and therefore the dismissal of the claimant was unfair. The claim under the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 2007 succeeded and the claimant was awarded the sum of €58,000.00 in addition to any payment he had already received.

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