The Employment Relations Authority has rejected an employee’s claim that he was unjustifiably dismissed after making inappropriate comments about Hitler to an officer in the company.

The employee’s manager explained to the employee that his comparison of a change in work schedule to Hitler was unreasonable and unprofessional, and that they would need to discuss the matter further.

The employee responded by stating that his comments about Hitler were intended as a joke, and that the officer must have taken offence because the schedule change was his idea. The employee then said that the idea of a meeting was an abuse of power and managerial bullying.

The employee was later suspended during the meeting until an investigation could take place.

Following the investigation, the employee was dismissed because he had failed to meet the company values and guidelines. The investigation also found that the employee had abused an officer of the company, which amounted to serious misconduct.

The employee brought a personal grievance claim of unjustified dismissal to the Authority.

An employer must act fairly and reasonably when dismissing an employee, which can include keeping the employee informed during the dismissal process, allowing time for feedback and considering such feedback.

The Authority held that as an employee in a management position, the employee was reasonably expected to act professionally. The employee failed to apologise for his conduct in the first instance, and did not seem to understand that his comments were inappropriate.

The employer had also conducted an investigation which concluded that the company was no longer able to trust the employee, and reasonably found that the employee’s actions constituted serious misconduct.

The employee was informed during the process, advised of the possible outcomes, provided with relevant information and allowed time to give an explanation for his actions before a decision was made.

The Authority held that the employer was justified in dismissing the employee.

There are important processes which must be followed when dismissing an employee. If you are unsure of your obligations, it pays to seek advice from a professional with experience in the area.


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