The Employment Relations Authority has upheld a personal grievance and found that an employee was unjustifiably dismissed and disadvantaged as a result of her employer’s conduct.

Due to the negative economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, an employer offered its staff reduced hours or leave without pay as an alternative to redundancy. One of the employees agreed to take leave without pay, with the option to pick up work as it became available.

Three months later, and after not receiving any wage subsidies, the employee contacted her employer. She was notified that her employment had been terminated months earlier. While the employee knew the business was restructuring and redundancy had been mentioned, it had not been brought up at any of her employment meetings.

The employee had agreed to leave without pay, but had never been informed of her redundancy. The employee brought a personal grievance claim for unjustified dismissal and unjustified disadvantage as a result of her dismissal.

The Authority held that the employer had breached good faith obligations as well as the employee’s employment agreement.

A Redundancy Letter had never been received by the employee, nor was she advised of it by text or email. The employee had also not been offered alternatives to redundancy, an option for redeployment, or a chance to give feedback before being advised of her termination.

These procedures are required when undertaking the dismissal of an employee. The Authority found that the lack of a fair and reasonable process, absence of consultation, and inadequate considerations of redeployment led to an unjustified disadvantage to the employee.

The employer was ordered to pay the employee three months of lost wages, reparation of $12,000 for hurt, humiliation and injury to feelings, and four weeks salary in lieu of notice of termination.

There are important procedures which an employer must undertake before dismissal. If there is confusion around these processes it pays to seek advice from a professional with experience in the area.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.

Alan Knowsley and Hunter Flanagan-Connors