The Employment Relations Authority has upheld a claim for unjustified dismissal of an employee following a disciplinary meeting.  The employee was on a final warning in relation to various prior incidences when he was dismissed for failing to follow up a customer who went to a competitor when he was not contacted.

The ERA found that, although the employer had followed a fair and reasonable process for investigating the complaint (all of the steps followed were correct), it was not justified in finding that the conduct amounted to serious misconduct bringing with it the sanction of dismissal.

The failure to follow up a customer should have only resulted in a warning, despite the employee being on a final warning for other types of matters, it could not justify dismissal.

So this is a rare case where the employer has followed the process correctly, but reached a wrong conclusion.  Normally unjustified dismissals have an employer following a wrong process which could have been justified had they followed the correct process.

The ERA awarded the employee $11,000 in lost wages and $6,800 in compensation for hurt and humiliation.  The hurt and humiliation compensation was reduced from $8,000 due to the employee’s conduct in failing to follow up the customer and failing to accept responsibility for that error.

Alan Knowsley

Employment Lawyer